Acting Globally: Vermont Nonprofits Work to Improve the World | Culture | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Acting Globally: Vermont Nonprofits Work to Improve the World

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Published November 23, 2016 at 10:00 a.m.


By accident of birth, Americans live in one of the most prosperous nations in the world. Those of us fortunate enough to reside in Vermont have that going for us, too. Life may not feel like a royal flush, but, compared to the cards dealt to most of Earth's inhabitants, we are lucky indeed. Most people in the world aren't complaining about travel delays and Facebook algorithms; they're looking for food, water, shelter and, on a really bad day, urgent medical care.

An obvious solution to the worldwide refugee crisis: Make it better for people where they are so the risks of leaving outweigh the benefits.

Some nonprofits in Vermont strive to do just that. From the comfort of the Green Mountains, these organizations stretch to the farthest reaches of the globe to help people who, through no fault of their own, lack what we take for granted. Here Seven Days reporters profile a sampling:

Rutland-based Pure Water for the World distributes water filtration systems in Haiti and Honduras, where, in some places, dirty water is the only kind available.

From Waterbury, the Himalayan Cataract Project dispatches eye doctors across the globe to perform a simple surgical procedure that reverses blindness.

Williston-based Grounds for Health screens women in developing countries at risk of contracting cervical cancer — before they become statistics. Those women are seven and a half times more likely to die of the disease because they don't have access to health care.

Fledgling but no less earnest: New Burlingtonian Cleophace Mukeba recently created the Ibutwa Initiative to help shunned victims of sexual assault in the Congo; his mother died as a result of violence there.

These local efforts attempt to correct just a few of many global injustices. They also serve to remind us that, regardless of whether America is "great" enough, its citizens have a lot to be thankful for.