News: Working together to make a difference in Suriname
PARAMARIBO, Suriname – In a country where an estimated 70 percent of the population is below the poverty line, the U.S. military has partnered with the Suriname government in a cooperative humanitarian mission called New Horizons, with the goal of helping to improve the quality of life for those in need in the country of Suriname.
However, with such a daunting task in front of them, the New Horizons partnership asked non-governmental organizations for help to complete their mission successfully.
To help assist the New Horizons 2011 mission in Suriname, two NGO’s from the United States, the Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach and the Midwest Mission Distribution Center, have donated close to $100,000 of medical equipment, school supplies and health kits.
Both organizations were happy to help.
“Having worked with Southern Command’s J9-Public Private Cooperation for the last few years, on different needs throughout the world, Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach was excited to be asked to be part of a project in Suriname,” said Brad Walton, the logistics and warehouse manager with HSMO. “Our goal has been, and continues to be, to provide medical supplies and equipment to those in need.”
Along with the supplies handled by the HSMO, the Midwest Mission Distribution Center donated medical kits and school supplies.
“MMDC is eager to help with this project by providing needed school supplies for the schools being built in Suriname,” said Pat Wright, the executive director with MMDC. “By partnering in this project, the Center is holding true to its mission.”
Wright said the mission of MMDC is “to compassionately help God's people in need locally, nationally, and around the world, and to offer a center to fulfill the call for service to our neighbors.”
The donations were collected and then sent to Suriname, where a joint military task force distributed them to individual families, orphanages and schools during the course of the operation.
“The two organizations provided the necessary tools to ensure a successful mission,” said Marine Master Sgt. Steven Parides, the intelligence chief and civil affairs specialist with the 4th Civil Affairs Group out of Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C. “The distribution of donated goods was a force multiplier in accomplishing every facet of the mission’s objectives.”
Among the donated supplies were general hygiene kits, which were given out to citizens that were unable to get treatment due to the sheer number of patients who wanted dental care, Parides said.
“Distributing the hygiene kits gave the disappointed citizens the consolation of, at least, receiving something, even though they couldn’t be seen by a doctor,” he said.
As the operations in Suriname come to a close in the coming weeks, Parides said the task force is planning a major distribution of more supplies after Aug. 9, during a scheduled Medical Readiness Training Exercise in the Brokopondo District.
Even with these distributions getting closer, Walton said the partnered organizations are already looking forward to working with SOUTHCOM on upcoming projects.
“We believe this is a great example of how, by networking and working together, we can make a difference to those less fortunate throughout the world,” he said.
Partnerships like the ones between the U.S. military, the Surinamese government, and organizations like the HSMO and MMDC have allowed the New Horizons task force to successfully complete their mission, and to make a difference in the lives of many people living in Suriname.
“The HSMO and MMDC have provided the task force in Suriname with some of the necessary tools for New Horizons,” said Parides.
“It was with their donations that thousands of Surinamese people were able to find hope and comfort, even in their darkest hour.”
Date Posted:08.09.2011 11:47
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