One of the first things I do at the start of each year is inform and thank our readers and customers, for the charity based projects that YOU have contributed to by purchasing our Outlook addins.
January was a very busy month and I somehow forgot. I know I am a little late but here are the main charity projects that we carried out in 2013.
Our focus (as in previous years) is on the education and health of children here in Fiji. Our contributions include money, time and expertise.
Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) Project at the CWM Children’s Hospital (Suva)
We have developed and are currently piloting a database for children affected by RHD in Fiji.
RHD is a problem that affects many children in Fiji and other Pacific islands. According to the world heart federation, RHD is the most common heart disease acquired by children in the world, especially children in the developing world.
RHD also tends to disproportionately affect children from low income and less educated families.
The standard method of control/treatment, once a child has been diagnosed with RHD, is the regular administration of antibiotics. The antibiotics are generally administered with a painful injection every 3 to 4 weeks.
While the Fiji Government has made testing and treatment of RHD free, statistics indicate that the compliance of patients is still poor and many children are at risk of serious heart damage that would require surgery to repair or replace heart valves.
These operations are not easily available in Fiji and are also very expensive.
We approached the Children’s Hospital in Suva with the idea of creating a database that allows the hospital to track compliance down to the individual patient level.
The aim of the database is to identify children who are not complying with the medical treatment necessary to control the disease.
This enables the hospital to identify which patients are missing injections and to intervene early by calling their parents.
The first version of the database has already been developed is currently being trialled at the main Children’s Hospital in Suva.
We hope to eventually link this system to mobile phone companies so that parents get reminded of as their children’s appointments (by SMS text) are due. This should further increase compliance while reducing the workload of the overworked nurses and doctors at our hospitals.
The data from the database will also be submitted to Government to aid with decision making that will hopefully save unnecessary operations, cost and even lives.
Educations Assistance to Save the Children Fiji (SCF)
We have had a long relationship with Save the Children Fiji (SCF). I have been a member of their Board for many years and have also served as the Chair Person.
Two of the SCF projects that we contributed in 2013 were the Education Assistance in and Education in Emergencies (EIS) programs.
The aim of the Education Assistance program is to provide school supplies to children at the start of the school year.
While SCF has been working hard to move people away from welfare and empowering them, the sad reality is that there are parents who are unable to adequately equip their children for school at the start of the year.
This results in children going to school badly prepared and often unable to partake fully, or worse dropping out.
Our donations over the years have helped keep children in school by providing school packs including bags, stationery, shoes and even uniforms.
The Education in Emergencies (EIE) project has a related but slightly different focus. Fiji is prone to flooding and cyclones/hurricanes one or more times an year. During the more severe events, schools are often closed and sometimes damaged.
School supplies may also be lost when homes are damaged. Parents from farming communities often have difficulty in re-equipping and sending children back to school if crops are damaged.
The money that we donate to EIE is used to get children back into a learning environment as soon as possible. In the past this has included provided school lunches, school supplies and setting up of informal temporary schools while main schools are closed for repairs etc.
This is a link to a newspaper article for one of the donations that we made: Standss Donation to Save the Children Fiji
Home of Compassion
The Home of Compassion is not a child based charity. Instead it is a home for the elderly. Culturally the elderly are still looked after by their families in Fiji. Formalized care for the elderly is not well established in Fiji yet.
However there is a growing need for this as grown children migrate out of Fiji or if there are special medical requirements.
We have worked with The Home of Compassion for several years to support their services. They do their best to truly make their residents feel at home and we are humbled to be allowed to contribute to them in a small way.
The above is a quick summary of the 3 main charities we had the privilege of working with in 2013. We were also able to make small contributions to other charities such as the Fiji Cancer Society and Fiji Blind Society.
It has been our good fortune to have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of many children and adults who have been less fortunate than us. We hope that it also makes you feel good because none of this would have been possible without your support of our business.
We want to do MORE… MUCH MORE!
We have big plans for the next few years and been working on a roadmap and strategic plan to grow our business (more on this in the next few weeks). This will enable us to have a greater impact on your business and by extension on the lives of the less fortunate.
We hope that you will continue to support our products, and let us know if we need to do more to keep earning your trust.
We look forward to your support as we make this journey together.