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.

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.

Sam Bunnath is a journalist in Cambodia’s Battambang province. In 2005, he attend a workshop for journalists that USAID sponsored as part of its effort to battle corruption in Cambodia. After the initial training effort, he and 11 other participants received one-on-one mentoring on investigative journalism. Sam and his colleagues were encouraged to put their training to practice and pursue leads on corruption — even on their own time, if necessary. They each received a small scholarship to offset the costs of investigative reporting.

Lom, a woman of 35, lives in Tanuk village in the district of Kravanh, western Cambodia. Lom, who has one daughter, lives with HIV/AIDS. Her husband died three years ago, leaving her as the sole breadwinner. But because of her health condition, she found herself unable to make a living: nobody would buy the produce she grew. She was also excluded from community events and was forced to spend most of her time alone.

USAID Helps Cambodian Partners Find Local Solutions for Local Problems

Phally, a mother of three, was a primary school teacher until her husband’s death in August 1999. She went for counseling after his death, and learned that, like her husband, she was HIV positive. Frightened and suddenly alone, Phally felt helpless. Her community in Battambang, western Cambodia, shut her out, she lost her job, and she had nowhere to turn. She became seriously sick twice, once with active pulmonary tuberculosis and another time with meningitis. Her family, losing hope, checked a comatose Phally into Moung Russey Hospital in Battambang, supported by USAID in collaboration with the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

Cambodia has one of the highest HIV/AIDS infection rates in the world. There is great concern that the HIV/AIDS epidemic is moving from sex workers to family members, especially housewives who are unaware that they are at risk of being exposed to HIV. With an increasing number of adults infected with HIV/AIDS, there is a growing population of AIDS orphans left to the care of relatives or state institutions.

Nyine Tun lies in a hospital bed hooked up to a drip bottle with saline solution. The frail 34-year-old woman says that she con-tracted malaria two weeks before arriving at Mae Tao from a village deep in the eastern Burma's interior. "I had a very high fever for days," she says. "I went to a clinic in my village but they wouldn't treat me because I couldn't afford the medicines." Nyine Tun resorted to seeing a traditional healer who prescribed herbs as treatment. "They didn't help," she explains. "But poor people always treat themselves with herbs."

The tension within Burma contributes to the present-day exodus of people into Thailand. Nwe Nwe, one of many who sought a better life across the border, was a widowed mother diagnosed with TB and HIV when she travelled with two children from Burma to Bangkok to seek work. In desperation, Nwe Nwe and her eldest son took jobs in a bean factory in Mae Sot where they each earned $2 per day.


Last updated: January 05, 2015