Transforming Lives

Every day, all over the world, USAID brings peace to those who endure violence, health to those who struggle with sickness, and prosperity to those who live in poverty. It is these individuals — these uncounted thousands of lives — that are the true measure of USAID’s successes and the true face of USAID's programs.

Saroja, a woman farmer from Sadrana village in the north Indian state of Haryana, grows fruits and vegetables. During harvest, she was forced either to sell the excess produce at low prices or let it spoil. Other farmers in the region and in the neighboring country of Nepal faced the same problem.

Challenge

As many as 100,000 children in India are infected with HIV/AIDS, which not only threatens their health but can also debilitate their families, depriving them of parental love and protection. HIV-associated stigma and discrimination can lead to isolation and reduce their chances of receiving basic education. Children infected or affected by HIV/AIDS also undergo severe psychological stress.

Today, Indonesia is recognized as an international leader in family planning and reproductive health. It has one of the world’s most successful programs. As a result, women like Rubeha Purwanto are now able to space the births of their children, improving the health of both mother and child.

In the late 1990s, when the last independent magazine in Indonesia was closed down, journalists reacted by forming an underground society to promote uncensored dissemination of news. After political changes brought greater press freedoms in 1999, the journalists continued honoring their commitment to a free and independent media, this time out in the open. With help from a USAID grant, they launched an independent radio station: Radio 68H. Today, the station promotes free speech and a free press through trusted news coverage.

The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Rising Sun are some of the 3,000-plus novels and textbooks that the Indonesian Mitra Netra—or “Friends of the Eye”—Foundation has in stock. What makes the library so impressive is that the books are in Braille or on tape. “We’ve been developing audio books since 1992,” says the deputy director, Irwan Dwi Kusnanto, who is visually impaired. With help from USAID, the foundation distributes 100 cassettes per month to 15 special schools where they are enjoyed by visually impaired adults and children.

Mothers and pregnant women in Wonokromo, a town in northeastern Java, worried that when time for delivery came, they could not get to the hospital. They also worried there was no guaranteed supply of blood in the event of an emergency requiring a transfusion. Now, thanks to a USAID-supported health initiative, Wonokromo mothers can stop worrying.

About 40 percent of the earth's land area is currently threatened by desertification. Asia, in terms of the number of people affected by desertification and drought, is the most severely affected continent.

Throughout Tibetan regions of China, resources for promoting local businesses, education, and healthcare are extremely limited. The socio-economic situation in Tibet is on par with some areas of sub-Saharan Africa. As the economy grows, rural Tibetans desperately need new skills and opportunities for living.

In 2010, USAID assistance established the Mandala Business Development Center, a community resource that will provide comprehensive services to Tibetan entrepreneurs such as Aré as they navigate through the various stages of designing, building, and managing a business.

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Last updated: November 22, 2013