Monday, September 21, 2009

Topia Children's Eco-Sanctuary Project in Central Africa

The eco-sanctuary is designed to provide immediate assistance to children left seperated, unaccompanied, or orpaned by the violence in Darfur Sudan, specifically the displaced population who have crossed the border into neiboring Chad. Families with children will become foster families upon residential entrance to Topia, and will be the primary caregivers to the children who are alone. Although Topia is aimed to decrease the suffering of the Sudanese refugees, there is no discrimination in acceptance into the Sanctuary, and it will be open and available to all regardless of race, religion, or nationality for the benifit of the region. There are five main elements to the Topia project: 1.) Housing- Assistance in the construction of homes within the Eco-Sanctuary for families , and children old enough to provide for their own self-care. We will also assist in relocation and reunification of seperated and unaccompanied children when and where possible. 2.) Education-We will be building a school open to the general public free of charge. In addition to children's primary classes, we will also provide adult literacy and continuing education classes as well. The school is designed to have a library with books in the local language, as well as computer and internet access at a later stage of development. 3.) Health-Care-Comprehensive full service clinic with integrated medicine blending the healing talents of both modern and traditional practitioners. Health services will be provided free of charge to sanctuary inhabitants, and accessible to the general public on a sliding scale or barter fee based on their income. 4.) Agreculture Development-environmentally restorative agrecultural development to provide for the communities nutritional stability. By using the concepts of permaculture and agroforestry to develop the Eco-Sanctuary's agreculture, we will be continuously building up soil components in areas of depletion, providing shade which in turn increases the soils humidity levels, and provides a place where natural flora can thrive. 5.) Renewable Energy-We will be using a combination of solar, wind, and turbine equipped playground equipment to provide for the energy needs of the community.

Description of innovation:

We are approaching the field of humanitarian aid in a way that strengthens the environment as well as the people in it. Particularly in the areas of environmental scarcity, compitition for limited resources creates local instability, which in turn leads to regional instability and possibly even war. The best way to either recover or prevent further incidence of crisis in the long term would be to teach the future generations to maintain the delicate balance of humans and nature. To design this project, we incorporated four distinct methodologies including concepts of humanitarian aid, disaster mitigation, sustainable development, and environmental stewardship to create what we have termed "holistic aid." The combination not only provides for the immediate needs of the sanctuary's inhabitants, but will also protect and empower the local area by providing access to education, healthcare, agrecultural stimulation, and a healthier environment. Current humanitarian aid available in the region of southern Chad is primarily focused on the refugee populations from Sudan and the Central African Republic while the people of Chad live in extreme poverty. The compitition for resources and frustration over the supplies deployed to the region for refugee aid increases tensions in the area. Similar ecological and racial makeup of Chad and Sudan increase the potential for the violence to spread from Darfur into Chad, therefore we are attempting to increase local stability in Chad before the crisis spreads. The children of the region are particularly vulnerable with little or no infrastructure to provide them with basic needs ranging from food and shelter, to education and future oppertunity.

Key operational partnership:

We are currently working alone as an organization on Topia because we are in such early stages of development. Part of the assessment process will be to connect and collaborate with local organizations in Chad and Sudan.


For more information visit

http://www.changemakers.com/en-us/node/11515

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