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.

Aug. 2014—Jerome Cowan made a decision to do better for himself—better than what was expected for someone growing up in his neighborhood, Parade Gardens, one of Jamaica’s most violent communities.

Purportedly, one can tell a lot about people by the way they talk about their deeds, if they are reluctant to put themselves in the spotlight. Such are the brave rafters from the Kanjon Rafting Club of Banja Luka, who were among the first to put their lives and skills in service to rescue victims of the devastating floods in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in May 2014.

The year 2014 will always be remembered in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH): It was the year when deadly floods and landslides destroyed everything in their path. Houses, schools, hospitals, businesses, farms and crops were devastated. Damages are in the billions of dollars. Recovery will be long and hard. 

For Y Nguyet, during the rainy season in Vietnam, just going to and from school was a fearful experience. Without knowing how to swim, she had to pass through treacherous, fast-flowing streams, which have been known to sweep people away.

Each summer, as typhoons and tropical depressions hit Vietnam’s city of Danang, the Lighthouse Corp. braced for strong winds, heavy rains and floods, hoping direct damage to its warehouse, factory, office and construction materials would be minimal. Unfortunately, many times the construction company was not spared from collapsed windows, doors and walls, damaged goods and products, and an interrupted supply of materials as damage was repaired.

Mỗi khi mùa hè đến, khi những cơn bão và các đợt áp thấp nhiệt đới đổ bộ vào thành phố Đà Nẵng, Công ty Ngọn Hải Đăng lại chuẩn bị tinh thần đối phó với những cơn gió mạnh, mưa lớn và ngập lụt với hi vọng giảm thiểu thiệt hại trực tiếp tới nhà kho, công xưởng, văn phòng và vật liệu xây dựng. Thật không may, đã nhiều lần công ty xây dựng này phải chịu cảnh sập tường, đổ cửa ra vào và cửa sổ, hàng hóa và sản phẩm bị hư hỏng, nguồn cung cấp vật liệu bị gián đoạn trong quá trình phục hồi thiệt hại.

Với Y Nguyệt, một bé gái 11 tuổi người dân tộc Bhana đang sinh sống tại Kon Tum, cứ mỗi khi mùa mưa Tây Nguyên về thì việc đến trường và về nhà sau mỗi buổi học là một quãng thời gian đáng sợ. Dù không biết bơi, em vẫn phải băng qua những con suối chảy siết, nguy hiểm, nơi đã từng có người bị nước cuốn trôi.

It seemed like a long shot to four young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) when they decided to see if their business ideas could stand up to scrutiny and garner support from a USAID program to help innovative—and hard-working—youth like them. But since then, they have won first and second place in a regional competition for startup business ideas, and have been invited to present their concepts at a major conference in London, for all the tech investment world to see.

Using the natural resources of Konjuh Mountain in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Alma Čamdžić and her sister started a home business two years ago, reviving the old trade of soap making and production of natural cosmetics. Like hundreds of other enthusiasts and small entrepreneurs in BiH, they have tied their careers to the development of tourism potential.

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Last updated: January 07, 2014