Tuesday, November 12, 2013

KIRF is going to the Philippines to deliver Typhoon Haiyan disaster relief

Satellite image of "Super" Typhoon Haiyan
hitting the Philippines on Nov. 9, 2013.
KIRF Director Mark Kirwin will be going to Philippines to deliver disaster relief supplies with a volunteer with family connections in the devastated country. "Super" Typhoon Haiyan which battered several islands last weekend has been the most devastating storm to hit the archipelago nation yet after years of increasingly severe typhoons battering the country. Unfortunately for the people living in the Philippines provinces of Cebu and Bohol, the typhoon came only a few weeks after a 7.5 earthquake hit and leveled homes and businesses. The thousands of homeless there had no protection when the typhoon came through last weekend with winds powerful enough to uproot palm trees and flood coastal towns with storm surges from the sea.

Mark, who is attending the UN climate talks in Warsaw, Poland right now as a volunteer mediator with Mediator Beyond Borders, told me that there is a feeling of great concern for the people in the Philippines right now at the conference. The news of Typhoon Haiyan's devastating impact and the humanitarian crises unfolding in the Philippines has had a "sobering" affect on the mood of the UN COP19 climate conference with representatives of 192 countries attending according to a news report on Yahoo.com

Mark Kirwin, Esq. and Dr. Tom Fiutek
will be delivering aid
in the Philippines after COP19.
Mark reported that the delegate from the Philippines announced yesterday at the conference that he was going to go on a hunger strike to emphasize to the other countries' delegates the catastrophic effects of what climate change is doing to the people of his country right now.  According to a CNN report, the UN delegate from Philippines went on hunger strike to pressure delegates to agree to "concrete pledges" of financial support for to the Green Climate Fund-- an international fund to help developing nations to reduce their emissions and adapt to climate change impacts like Typhoon Haiyan. The increasingly severe typhoons to hit the Philippines since 1990 are the direct effects of anthropogenic climate change scientists believe. 

KIRF is working with a network of humanitarians in the Philippine community here in the United States as well as others to raise funds for a Stage II disaster relief trip to the affected area. Since communication is very difficult in the disaster zone with our local contacts there (cellular service is still down as is electricity and Internet), details of KIRF's relief trip will be posted  here as they are available. 

In the meantime, I will post updates about the conditions in the disaster area from reliable news accounts and our contacts who have loved ones and work colleagues in Philippines. These news updates and KIRF disaster relief updates will be at Facebook.com/KIRFaid  and Twitter.com/KIRFaid

Donations for KIRF's Philippines Disaster Relief can be made online:


For donations made on our website KIRFaid.org, in the Paypal checkout, please specify that the donation is going to "KIRF" (and not "KIRF INDIA").  Donations going to "KIRF" thru the month of November will automatically be set aside for disaster relief in the Philippines.  Please leave your email address if you would like to received emailed updates about the disaster relief effort.

Donations can also be sent by mail:

Kirwin International Relief Foundation (or "KIRF")
c/o Kirwin Becker Law Group
4480 Market St., Suite 804
Ventura, CA 93003 U.S.A.

Checks should be made out to “KIRF" or "Kirwin International Relief Foundation".

Donations sent to KIRF are tax deductable.  The Kirwin International Relief Foundation (aka "KIRF")  is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in the state of California Tax I.D. # 27-3431829.

The Kirwin International Relief Foundation is a humanitarian organization dedicated to helping others help themselves in a respectful and environmentally sustainable manner through our dual mission of disaster relief and education. Our on-the-ground disaster relief is done by experienced volunteers who pay their own airfare and work with humanitarians native to the area. Your donation can make a difference.

Thank you,

Angela R. Kirwin

Co-Founder of KIRF

Saturday, November 09, 2013

KIRF Fall Report: Much to be Thankful For in USA, India & Nicaragua

With pumpkins still growing in many of our local Ventura fields, and Thanksgiving just around the corner, Fall is upon us as the air gets slightly cooler with those hot intermittent Santa Anna winds.  These changes give me cause to reflect upon the work that KIRF has done this last year: Helping people change their own lives with better education, health, sanitation and job skills.

It seems like only yesterday when KIRF, in partnership with the Rotary Club of Venture, made a trip to Brooklyn, New York to work with the Occupy Sandy volunteers in New York City to provide food, cleaning supplies, and infant needs to many who were still in need of assistance from Hurricane Sandy. You can read more about our Hurricane Sandy disaster relief in last December's field report.

KIRF volunteers also made several trips to Nicaragua this past year, once again partnering with the Rotary Club of Ventura and our new local Nicaraguan community service partner in Playa Gigante: Project WOO. Project WOO (WOO stands for "Waves Of Optimism") is a local non-profit founded an international network of surfers and humanitarians who wish to give back to the economically disadvantaged coastal community of Playa Gigante through environmentally sustainable education, job-creation, and health programs.   To make sure they they were really helping the local Nicaraguans, Project WOO formed a local village community health committee.  Through door-to-door assessments, the health committee discovered that the community needed a local health clinic.  Once a local land owner donated a portion of his land, the design and procurement of funds for the new Gigante Community Health Center began shortly after. In the past year, KIRF and the Rotary Club of Ventura have worked with Project WOO and have purchased the materials and labor to drill a well and install a water tank for the clinic.  After Project WOO secured funding for the clinic's first year of operational costs, and got partial building funding from their own fund raising online and from local Nicaraguan businesses, KIRF and Ventura Rotary assisted the health clinic project by purchasing the labor and materials to build and install the clinic windows and doors. We also purchased the septic tanks, sinks, toilets and pluming for proper sanitation, and roofing materials.

With a local health clinic in Playa Gigante, people from community would not have to travel over 2 hours for emergency medical treatment of injuries and disease.  KIRF is collaborating with Project WOO and the Rotary Club of Ventura to complete the construction of the new Gigante Community Health Center. This local health clinic will also provide preventative medicine education, including hygiene, and health care education and treatment for women. You can read more about KIRF's support of the construction of the new Gigante Community Health Center in our field report.

KIRF continues to support the women’s sewing center at the Shekhwara Village School in rural Bihar, India. The sewing center has been a huge success since we started it in 2009 with a modest investment in non-electric sewing machines, textiles and a small stipend that pays for a local seamstress sewing instructor. The Sewing Center is educating local young women in the skills of making clothing using sewing machines and materials we purchased.  We have a dedicated teacher who has seen graduates of the program make and sell their clothing which helps support their  rural and poor lower caste families.  Several years ago, I had the pleasure of walking from the Shekhwara Village School (then called the Kirwin James International School), which houses the sewing center and weekend family health clinic, to the surrounding villages where the students live in their traditional homes of mud walls and thatched roofs.   The kindness of the people, the cleanliness of their mud huts, and the vibrancy of their colorful saris, will remain a wonderful life-long memory. Since that visit the school has grown and a field report on its growth is coming. In the meantime, you can learn more about the Shekhwara Village School and it's free family Health Clinic and Women's vocational training at the Sewing Center in a 2012 field report, or for more recent updates with lot's of photographs, our Facebook page Facebook.com/KIRFaid.

KIRF has moved!

We are pleased to announce that KIRF has a new home at the law firm Kirwin Becker Law Group, located at 4480 Market St., Suite 804, Ventura, CA 93003. You can reach us during office hours Monday thru Friday c/o Kirwin Becker Law Group at (805) 650-1044. Updates about our current disaster relief delivery and on-going education projects are posted regularly online at Twitter.com/KIRFaid and Facebook.com/KIRFaid.

So, we give thanks this fall season for all of the wonderful work KIRF has been able to do this last year.  Our work could not have been done without your very kind and generous support. Thank you very much for helping KIRF help others in need.  Please feel free to send donations for disaster relief or KIRF India and other education projects to KIRF at the above address. You can also donate online at KIRFaid.org. Your donations are deductible because KIRF continues to be in good standing with its 501(c)(3) public charity IRS classification.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday season!

From all of  us at KIRF,



President, Director
Kirwin International Relief Foundation