Julian Omidi looks at the water crisis faced by the impoverished and the unique methods that charitable organizations are employing to help bring awareness and assistance to the cause.
Often we take our access to clean water for granted; we turn on the faucet or buy a bottle of water without a second's hesitation. Around the world, however, there are hundreds of millions of people affected by their lack of access to clean water. Here are just some of the statistics:
- Water-related diseases are the cause of roughly 3.4 million deaths every year. To put that in perspective, annually we lose the equivalent of the population of Los Angeles due to lack of clean water.
- A child dies from a water-related illness every 20 seconds.
- 780 million people around the world, roughly 11% of the global population, do not have access to clean water.
- A United States resident that takes a shower for five minutes uses more water than the average person in certain areas of developing countries will use in an entire day.
- 2.5 billion people are without a toilet or basic sanitation.
Clean water and sanitation are very large issues for people around the world, which is why the charity Water.org is attempting to spread awareness through a recent video.
In a YouTube video that the organization hopes will go viral, actor Matt Damon holds a press conference where he announces that he will be going on a "toilet strike," refusing to go to the bathroom until everyone in the world has access to clean water. The video, while being particularly comical, is also very educational and gets to the heart of the global need for access to clean water and sanitation.
Matt Damon is co-founder of the charity Water.org, which works with local partners around the world to provide access to clean water and sanitation. Projects that are currently being featured by the organization include those in countries like Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, and Kenya among others.
Help Water.org to get this video to go viral and spread awareness about the need for clean water and sanitation and how for $25 a day you can provide clean water for someone for life.
By Julian Omidi
At No More Poverty my brother Julian Omidi and I have been blessed to work with some amazing organizations that get to the heart of helping those suffering from poverty. As a result of the achievements of this charity Julian Omidi and I have launched more Omidi Brothers charities, which include Animal Support, Children's Obesity Fund, and Civic Duty.
Through NMP we have been able to build a network of like-minded charities and gained experience in how to help support other organizations. Poverty is just one of many causes that Julian and I are passionate about and we wanted to extend our assistance to other projects that have gained our attention.
The importance of Omidi Brothers Charities is to highlight our new non-profit organizations as well as to give you insight into why these causes are so important to us.
Not only in the United States, but in other developed and developing countries as well, obesity has become a significant health issue for adults and especially children leading to increased risks of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and even potentially multiple sclerosis in adolescent girls.  As it currently stands the current generation of children may be the first in the history of the US that does not live longer than their parents, and a significant contributing factor to this issue is obesity in childhood. It is both the hope and duty of each generation that the proceeding generation has more opportunity, better health, and better lives than theirs and for the first time since our country's founding we may be failing on providing that to our children. This is why we formed the non-profit organization Children's Obesity Fund; to support initiatives and charities that focus on the issue of children's obesity and can provide a better future to our children.
Part of stewardship is protecting the fellow residents of our planet and for this reason we have formed Animal Support. Pet ownership has been shown to have benefits to human health such as a decrease in blood pressure and cholesterol levels as well as increasing the opportunity for exercise and decreasing the feeling of loneliness ; and yet pet and animal abuse runs rampant with thousands of cases being reported each year and reported cases are only the tip of the iceberg of the actual numbers of animals that are abused.
Julian Omidi and I also feel that those who are doing good in their community are not often provided with the resources, assistance, and recognition that they deserve and that is why Civic Duty is a crucial part of our Omidi Brothers charities. We encourage members of communities to tell us about their friends, family, or colleagues that they feel are making a difference in some way so that their cause can receive the attention that it deserves.
We hope you will continue to support No More Poverty as well as assist our other organizations in their individual efforts. No charity can achieve its goals without the belief and commitment of the community and we hope that you will continue to bring awareness to these new charities as well. Thank you for your continued interest and assistance.
By Michael Omidi
Many studies have shown the benefits of positive psychology among children and that it may help to prevent or help children handle issues such as depression and anxiety later in life. This is why the work of the I AM Foundation is so important.
The I AM Foundation, founded in 1998 by author Steve Viglione and Dr. Marilyn Powers, the organization aims to help children, teachers, and parents find their value and share it with the world. The foundation seeks to achieve this goal by distributing books and music to children and adults locally and globally. The efforts of the I AM Foundation have seen the distribution of over 1.1 million books and products to help children achieve a positive outlook on their world.
Among the books distributed include those published and gifted by the organization, including the Love-Wisdom series and The I AM! Affirmation Book, which has been translated into 50 languages and gifted in 50 countries. The book features about 32 positive affirmatives that will assist children (and adults as well) in facing their fears and helping them build the confidence to succeed.
The work that the organization does for children and adults is imperative and that is why Julian Omidi and I are proud to support the I AM Foundation. One of the most admirable traits of this organization is that it provides those interested in providing support with multiple avenues to do so. You can of course make a financial contribution to I AM Foundation but there are many more ways to get involved in this project including:
• Book Gifting Missions – You can participate in or organize a book gifting mission, where you travel to another country to deliver the books in person at scheduled events.
• Sponsor Packages – Sponsor packages range anywhere from sponsoring a single child to a classroom to as many as 250 children.
• Company Matching Programs – Companies that will match contributions from their employees include everyone from 3M to General Motors to Xerox Foundation. If your company does not match contributions you can contact your human resources department about doing so.
• Awareness – Though the I AM Foundation has made significant strides they can always use some help building awareness about their mission. Simply by utilizing your social media profiles such as Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and Pinterest you can help build awareness; just share this article or a link to The I AM Foundation on your profile to help build awareness.
Poverty is an issue that is consistently on the minds of individuals, governments, and non-profit organizations around the world. Here, Julian Omidi reports on poverty issues affecting the United States and Europe in January of 2013.
Many people understand that poverty is a worldwide issue that directly affects developed countries like the United States and the United Kingdom as well as developing countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ghana . In an effort to provide a more comprehensive picture of poverty across the globe, here is a round-up of just some of the poverty-related issues the aforementioned countries are contending with currently.
Benefits Raid in UK Leading to Child Poverty
In an article published by Mirror News it is being reported that a freeze in tax credits and welfare payments instituted by Chancellor of the Exchequer and Second Lord of the Treasury George Osborne, MP could result in 200,000 children slipping into "relative income poverty," and could increase the number of children living in poverty by over a million by 2020. In England a family is classified as living in poverty if income is below 60% of the national household income average. The national average in the UK is £359 or about $569 per week, with 60% of the average equaling about $347 per week. According to the Office for National Statistics in the UK, the average weekly household expenditures in 2010 on basic necessities including transportation, housing, fuel, and power, and food alone totaled roughly £210, which is approximately the amount of income for families living in poverty. Learn more about this issue from the Child Poverty Action Group press release.
30% of Residents in Illinois Living At or Near Poverty
According to recent reports, as many as 1 in 3 residents of Illinois are living at or near the poverty line, with 15% of residents below poverty. The number of impoverished in the state is almost double that of the average national poverty rate of 7.8%. The current Federal Poverty Threshold for a single person is an annual income of $11,484 and $23,021 for a family of four.
Several Countries in Africa Set to Halve Poverty Figures
Countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, and the Democratic Republic of Congo are poised to decrease the level of poverty and hunger by 50% in 2015. While there are many factors to the state of poverty in Africa - poverty affects more rural than urban dwellers on the continent, women are most affected by poverty in these countries - the projection that these numbers will decrease is an encouraging one. Despite these projections there are still many continuing issues facing Africa such as the number of food-deprived individuals increasing from 166 million in 1990-1992 to 218 million in 2006-2008 and an increase of those living on less than $1.25 per day. For more information visit this article on poverty and hunger in Africa.
There is still much work to be done in our goal to end poverty and we encourage you to join us in these efforts. Learn more about the difference we can make together through No More Poverty.
By Julian Omidi
America is not the only country that is experiencing an obesity epidemic; studies over the last ten years have shown an increasing rate of obesity in the country of Mexico, to the point that the country is rivaling the obesity rates of the United States.
The percentage of the adult population who qualify as obese in Mexico (defined as having a Body Mass Index or BMI greater than 30) as of 2009 was 30%, a rate that was only topped by the United States at 33.8%. According to a federal health and nutrition survey conducted in 2012, 64% of men and 82% of women were either overweight or obese. As a result of these increasing rates of obesity and overweight the country is also seeing an increased number of men and women at risk for diabetes. Some of the statistics surrounding diabetes in Mexico are as follows:
• One in five (20%) women in Mexico is at risk for diabetes.
• One in four (25%) Mexican men are now at risk for diabetes.
• Treatment for diabetes-related illnesses have skyrocketed with 150,000 receiving kidney dialysis, though this number is only about half of those that actually require it and are refused treatment due to a lack of health insurance.
Not only does poor health affect those who end up developing diseases such as diabetes, it also greatly affects the healthcare system of the country, with physicians and analysts expecting that the Mexican health system could be completely overwhelmed, and even face collapse, within the next 10 to 15 years as a result of the number of citizens suffering from illnesses caused by obesity such as diabetes.
These statistics are why the VIDA project being conducted by the Himalyan Institute is so important. VIDA provides education on good nutrition by matching participating families in Mexico with a nutritional counselor, providing seeds and technical knowledge to help families construct high-yield gardens, and harvest crops that not only improve the diets of the families but can also be sold in markets.
Nutrition is a significant barrier to maintaining a healthy weight in Mexico as it is in the United States; for example, sugary drinks such as cola are consumed at a rate of 728 eight-ounce drinks per person per year in Mexico, almost double that of the 403 eight-ounce sugary drinks consumed by Americans each year.
VIDA primarily aims to provide farmers in the Totonac region of Mexico with the means to grow high-yield crops that will benefit those who cultivate these fruits and vegetables as well as supply the demand in large cities for these foods in an aim to make a more balanced diet affordable and fight against the rising obesity rates.
For these reasons my brother Julian Omidi and I are proud to support the VIDA Project of the Himalyan Institute. Through your support of the VIDA Project Mexican citizens have the ability to avoid a debilitating health crisis that threatens the majority of the population. Please visit the VIDA project website to find out what you can do today to make a difference.
Julian Omidi is proud to support Vittana, a lending charity that helps provide loans to students seeking higher education in countries around the world. Julian Omidi discusses the importance of higher education as a tool to combat poverty across the globe.
The importance of higher education cannot be overstated: statistics show that earning potential is greatly increased for degrees of education in the United States and unemployment is significantly lower as well. Those with less than a high school diploma experience unemployment rates of just over 14% and make an average of $451 in weekly earnings, while those with a professional degree experience only about 2.4% unemployment and have median weekly earnings of $1,665.
Higher education can be quite expensive, however, with costs to obtain even an undergraduate degree in the United States exceeding $32,000 per year on average. The costs of education are only rising, in fact it has risen over 440% in the last 25 years, accounting for about 25% of a middle-class family's annual income.
These costs are not limited to the United States, however, and neither are the benefits. Those that attain higher education throughout the world are able to provide for themselves and their families, and the organization Vittana assists people in countries like Paraguay, the Philippines, and Bolivia attain higher education.
A prime example of the work that Vittana is doing in the lives of real people around the world is Janice Macalisang. Janice always dreamed of being a teacher, but despite putting herself through high school and enrolling in a work-study program at her university she was unable to fund her own education. Her family was unable to help her as her mother passed away at childbirth and her father suffered from alcoholism. Through Vittana Janice was provided with a loan of $203 and was able to complete her education and begin her dream of teaching. She went from being unemployed to earning $10 per day (over 400 pesos per day), which allows her a comfortable living in her country.
Since it's foundation four years ago, Vittana has provided over $2.5 million in loans to over 6,000 students in 12 countries. Over 99.8% of students repay their loans in full, allowing Vitanna to continue offering financial assistance to those around the world looking for funding for their education.
Michael and Julian Omidi support Vitannabecause we know what a difference higher education can make in the fight against poverty around the world. If you feel as passionate about helping real students receive a real education, please offer your support to Vitanna today.
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development recently released it's 2012 Point-In-Time Estimates of Homelessness. This report examines on a national and community level the number and types of individuals that are currently suffering from homelessness. This report takes a look at the homeless population on a single night in January each year, taking data from local planners of Continuums of Care (local or regional systems that help the homeless by providing housing and services) from over 3,000 cities and counties. This is what HUD found:
• On that single night in January 2012, 633,782 people were homeless in the United States, down about 0.4% from 2011 for the overall homeless population. This number was a decrease of 5.7% since 2007.
• While homelessness among individuals has decreased 1.4% since 2011, the number of homeless among families has increased 1.4%.
• The state of California accounts for over one-fifth (20.7%) of the homeless population in the United States. The next state that accounts for the largest portion of the homeless population is New York at 11%.
• California, New York, Florida, Texas, and Georgia account for almost half of the nation’s homeless population.
Based on these findings there is still a great deal of work to do to combat poverty in the state of California and throughout the nation. In 2013 the Omidi Brothers and No More Poverty will continue our efforts to reduce homeless rates further.With your help this can truly be a New Year for those that are living without a home.
2013 has just arrived and Michael Omidi and I hope that in the New Year charities will continue to make a lasting impact on poverty, especially in our home of Los Angeles. In order to measure the impact of the efforts we make we will have to look at the current state of the impoverished in Los Angeles.
Cost of Living and Unemployment
Typically cost of living indices are based on the United States average representing 100, meaning that those areas that have ratings below 100 have a lower cost of living than the US average and those with ratings above 100 have a higher cost of living.
Overall the city of Los Angeles had a rating of 144 at the end of 2012. This rating weighs cost of living in this manner:
• 30% accounted for by housing costs
• 15% accounted for by the cost of food and groceries
• 10% for transportation
• 13% for health care and utilities
• 32% for miscellaneous expenses such as entertainment, clothing, and services
In 2012 the unemployment rate hovered around 11%, above the average unemployment rate for the nation, which was roughly 8.1%. This jobless rate was down from 12% in 2011 but the drop was primarily due to people dropping out of the labor force altogether, a trend which was common throughout many parts of the nation.
Hunger and Homelessness
The most recent statistics regarding hunger in Los Angeles found that approximately 1.7 million individuals within Los Angeles County suffered with hunger.
Los Angeles also has one of the highest homeless populations in the nation, with approximately 254,000 men, women, and children experiencing homelessness at some point during the year. It is estimated that on any given night there are 82,000 people in Los Angeles County that are homeless.
Additional statistics regarding homelessness in Los Angeles show that:
• The single population of homeless in Los Angeles is predominately male, making up about 75%.
• About one-fifth of the homeless population is disabled physically.
• One-quarter of the homeless population is mentally ill.
• 48% have graduated from high school and 32% have a bachelor degree or higher.
What We Can Do
With over 17% of the population in Los Angeles living below poverty there is a great deal of work to be done. Luckily there are numerous organizations and charities throughout Los Angeles that support the impoverished whether those individuals are hindered by the high cost of living, hunger, homelessness, or joblessness. Just a few of the charities that provide support in these areas include:
• Homelessness in Los Angeles County – Upward Bound House is one organization that provides shelter for the homeless in Santa Monica and is a charity that we at No More Poverty support. Additional homeless shelter for the area includes Los Angeles Youth Network and the Salvation Army. You can find a list of homeless shelters through the Homeless Shelter Directory.
• Hunger Charities in LA – The Children’s Hunger Fund helps those suffering from hunger nationally and internationally as well as those who need assistance in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank also fights hunger in the area.
• Employment Assistance – Los Angeles has many charities that assist in employment and career development. Some of these charities include the United Way of Greater Los Angeles and the Beyond Shelter organization. Additionally the state provides an Employment Development Department to assist in this area.
In the coming year we will be assisting more charities in their efforts to aid those suffering from poverty in the Los Angeles area and with your help we can make a significant impact on the lives of those living right here in LA.
While bullying has been an issue since the introduction of formal education, bullying has climbed to new heights with the introduction of cyber communications. While many children used to be able to find refuge in their homes, interactions online through social media and via text message have allowed the bullies to penetrate victims’ sanctuary.
When it comes to cyber bullying the statistics are alarming:
• More than 25% of teens and adolescents have reported being bullied repeatedly, whether through the Internet and social media or via cell phones and text messaging.
• About 10% of young people have been the victim of embarrassing or damaging pictures being shared without their permission.
• Roughly half of teens have been the victims of cyber bullying.
Bullying also happens one-on-one or in a group in a face-to-face setting, typically in schools. Statistics state that the majority of students – about 77%- grades 6 through 10 have experienced mental or verbal abuse at the hands of a bully. A new study suggests that bullying is also increasingly being linked with health problems.
The journal Pediatrics is reporting a high prevalence of children being made fun of and bullied for their health problems. The study found that nearly one-third of children who suffered from food allergies were targets of victimization, sometimes involving the children being pelted with the foods they are allergic to. Additionally the study found that of the 250 families they surveyed, the parents frequently were unaware of this bullying occurring to their children.
An additional study, also published in Pediatrics, that children who suffer from being overweight or obese also experience a significant amount of bullying; in fact, according to the article:
“Nearly two-thirds of 361 overweight teens who attended weight loss camps reported that they’d been bullied for their weight for up to five years -- sometimes even after they reached a healthy weight.”
Studies conducted by psychologists have found the trauma caused by bullying to often be significant, resulting in disorders such as anxiety, depression, suicidal tendencies, and acts of violence against others. In some cases it has even been reported to cause post-traumatic stress disorder that can last into adulthood.
While schools and communities are working to prepare measures to combat bullying in schools and cyber bullying, charitable organizations have also been established to fight bullying in all of its forms. Organizations like Beat Bullying and Bullies Out are working to combat bullying and provide parents and children with resources to help cope with bullying and prevent it as well.
With awareness, knowledge, and a concerted effort we can combat bullying in all of its forms.