Globe Aware June 2016

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Project Spotlight: Installing Cement Floors

IMG_4568Did you know?

  • Over a billion people worldwide live in homes with dirt floors
  • 34% of children in developing worlds have to live in dwellings with more than five people per room or which have mud flooring
  • Three-million children die each year from parasitic infections attributable to diarrhea
How do you prevent the millions of viruses from coming into your living space and killing your children if you cannot properly clean your dirt floor?

A simple solution to this problem is (yes, you guessed it) concrete flooring!

At Globe Aware we install concrete floors for families in the local communities we serve. Concrete flooring provides both a cleanable surface and a barrier against parasitic infestation. This simple addition to the home, drastically improves the lives of the families who eat, sleep, and play in the space.

A 2007 World Bank study of a Mexican government program to replace dirt floors with cement found that doing so "significantly improves the health of young children." Among the study's findings: "A complete substitution of dirt floors by cement floors in a house leads to a 78 percent reduction in parasitic infestations, a 49 percent reduction in diarrhea, an 81 percent reduction in anemia and a 36 to 96 percent improvement in cognitive development." Beyond this, adults reported "increased satisfaction with ... their quality of life."

One of the main program sites where we focus our efforts to install concrete flooring is in Guatemala. Guatemala has one of the highest poverty rates in Latin America, and 50% of Guatemalans, mostly rural indigenous, live in inadequate housing (COHRE (Centre on Housing Rights and Equality)).

In Guatemala, our volunteers work together with the owners of the house to help install the floors. This involves mixing cement on site by corralling the gritty goo in a man-made pit and churning it about with hoes and buckets of water. Each cement floor is installed by a group of 1 to 4 volunteers with a local man who is a cement worker and a representative of the host family. No heavy tools are required, and it is a popular activity with volunteers because of the opportunity to interact with local families while contributing their efforts towards a lasting and meaningful goal. This project is important because it serves the mission of Globe Aware by being both sustainable and culturally immersive.

So far Globe Aware volunteers have facilitated approximately 125 floors in Guatemala. The host families are always ecstatic and in many cases work very hard to prepare the site so that everything is ready for the volunteers. The families go out of their way to treat the volunteers as welcomed guests. The host family provides lunch for the volunteers, and is paid the same as a restaurant for providing the meal.

“There were different parts of the project, and they were all meaningful in their own way: - The day helping a family lay a concrete floor to their very humble house was very satisfying.”- Hieu Ton, Guatemala 2016

Our hope is that every volunteer leaves the experience with the satisfaction that not only was their time and money was well spent helping others, but with a renewed perspective gained through the cultural exchange. Beyond just the physical labor, working side by side with locals can leave the volunteer with lasting, positive changes that shape their ideas and thoughts, and inspire them to become more “active citizens” in their own communities.

“I felt like every citizen, child or adult, was grateful for our work. My favorite moment during the trip was when I realized I was making a big difference in someone's life; for example, laying concrete floor at a family's house was a big improvement to their lives.”- Volunteer (Name withheld for privacy) Guatemala 2016

Not only are young children better off when their homes have concrete rather than dirt floors, but the mothers are less depressed, less stressed and happier. The families are now afforded a clean and dry surface for their young children to sit and play, as well as an insect free area to store their corn. An added bonus is the floor provides a cooler place to sleep during the hot months (especially when there are several people per bed). Thank you to all of our volunteers who have helped make a difference in the lives of these families, and to all future volunteers who are eager to invest in this cause as well!

To learn more about how you can participate in our “Giving Guatemala” project please visit our website: CLICK HERE


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Did you know?

147Replacing dirt floors with cement in the homes of urban slums makes for more comfortable living - but more importantly, it significantly improves children's health by interrupting the transmission of intestinal parasites and boosts youngsters' cognitive abilities, according to a new study conducted for the University of California, Berkeley's Center of Evaluation for Global Action

At the local level in many developing countries, effective if low-tech equipment is what people say they need most immediately from foreign assistance. A bag of cement and a glazed ceramic toilet seat, worth no more than about $10 for both, can change the life of a Third World family and improve the health of a village. A concrete floor and solid roof to prevent village markets from turning into seas of mud in rainy seasons is also health-enhancing—not to mention a psychological boost to stallholders and shoppers. - Source: Modern Ghana

World Bank researchers then looked at the health outcomes of families who got new floors. The health gains were remarkable. The complete replacement of dirt with concrete for flooring caused parasitic infestations to fall by 78 percent, cases of diarrhea fell by 49 percent and an improvement in cognitive development of up to 96 percent. - Source: Humanosphere


Corporate Travel

corp1 2Many people are unaware of the perks employers may offer to their employees who are interested in using their time outside of work for a good cause. Company matching funds are commonplace nowadays and can cover up to 50% of your program fee with Globe Aware.  Ask your employer what kind of volunteering perk may be offered. Volunteer vacations are a great way for coworkers to bond outside of the corporate environment while at the same time giving back to the community they are visiting. For groups interested in reserving private dates, we require a minimum number of four.

Here is one company's corporate volunteer vacation experience CLICK HERE


Facebook recently converted our old Globe Aware Volunteers page.
The new format doesn’t allow an easy way to post and share photos.
To keep up to date with our projects and fun, be sure to like us at https://www.facebook.com/globeaware
To share photos, friend and then post to “Shanti Shahani GlobeAware”.


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Globe Aware
6500 East Mockingbird Lane, Suite 104
Dallas, Texas 75214-2497

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