News & Events

Donate Your Time and Have Fun During Spring Break

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Thanks to Teresa Choi for providing the cover photo. Our Abōd Shelters® volunteers celebrating with the community on building 10 Abōd’s in 10 days in Tanzania. These volunteers came from all over to help and in addition to providing homes for the community, they’ve made new friends for life.

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Michelle Rothfus, Project Coordinator Abōd® Shelters

With Spring break upon us, especially students, who doesn’t daydream about a warm tropical vacation and lounging on the beach, skiing in the mountains and shopping in the unique villages or just staying home and taking a staycation? Did you ever consider doing something different instead and donating your time and energy while having fun? There are many options to get involved as an individual, family or group. There are also many options to get involved with something that you already love to do or want to learn. To help inspire you we’ve come up with a list of ideas.

  1. Check out opportunities through your local college or university

Many colleges and universities provide opportunities for their students to spend Spring break volunteering in the local community, across the country, or abroad. Contact your school’s student affairs office.

2. Contact charitable organizations and choose a local community or location you are interested in

Many large charitable organizations for example, Habitat for Humanity, enthusiastically will take individual, family or group volunteers for short stints. Participant fees typically cover food, lodging, and ground transportation once you arrive. Participants are responsible for travel to and from their selected location.

3. Check into opportunities abroad

If you are interested in a longer trip, perhaps abroad, make sure you take the time to research and raise funds to finance it. For an overview of the types of opportunities available and the places you might go, look at the below options:

Go Abroad is a one-stop information center for those wishing to travel and volunteer abroad. It links prospective travelers with organizations providing international opportunities.

Go Overseas is a small company, with a staff of enthusiastic travelers, that goes to the source to get information about international volunteer and education programs and shares inspiring stories.

Cross-Cultural Solutions (CSS) A cross cultural service that improves the health, education and economic opportunities for vulnerable women, children and elderly. They are an international social enterprise with no political or religious affiliations.

If you’re not up to traveling but still are interested in making a difference, clean out your closet or garage and donate items you will no longer use to a local thrift shop, send care packages or write a letter for different groups for troops serving or for additional ideas read my previous blog on ‘How Can One Person Make A Difference?’ and learn how ONE person can make a significant impact on just doing the simplest of things.

Packing for a humanitarian trip is much different than packing to go on a vacation. Be sure to read ‘How To Prepare For A Humanitarian Trip Abroad: Five (Not So Easy) Lessons I Learned’ for some great advice on what to pack and how to prepare.

If you find that you need something to do on the way to your destination or if you decide on that staycation, be sure to grab a book that is worth reading. If you’re traveling, find a book about the local community, project you’ll be working on or more about the local culture and language. Here are some additional recommendations:

  1. Making a Difference: A Matter of Purpose, Passion & Pride by Steve Gilliland
  2. Dude Making a Difference by Rob Greenfield
  3. Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference by Max Lucado
  4. I Can Make A Difference: A Treasury to Inspire Our Children by Marian Wright Edelman

There are many ways to have a meaningful and unique spring break while still having fun. If you have a passion for helping others, learning new things and making new friends, be sure to check into these options and get involved.

Thanks and Safe Travels!

Our Abōd Shelters® Tanzania build with our volunteers, including Ty Pennington. Photo credit to Teresa Choi.

Several families that were friends volunteered on this Abōd Shelters® build in South Africa. Photo credit to Jacob Sharp at Jacob Sharp Photo’s.

Working together, these families built 5 Abōd Shelters®. Photo credit to Jacob Sharp at Jacob Sharp Photo’s.


Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.
You can get involved and help us build a sustainable Village of the Future using Abōd® Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support through partnership or become a Sponsor in 2017. For more information about ways to partner with us or becoming a sponsor, please mail your interest to ginny@abodshelters.com


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

Donate Your Time and Have Fun During Spring Break
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When Companies Allow Employees The Opportunity To Get Involved Great Things Happen

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Thank you to Rob Marish at Keystone for the Cover Photo. 

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Michelle Rothfus, Project Coordinator Abōd® Shelters

When an Abod was built to be used as a Birthing Center in rural Tanzania in January, we really had no idea how it would be received. But when 30 pregnant women from the nearby villages showed up for a tour during the ribbon cutting ceremony, we knew we provided the right solution that was long overdue. Building one Birthing Center and providing education to the local midwives will make an ongoing and lasting impact in this community. But many more Birthing Centers are desperately needed throughout the country.

Many expectant mothers in Tanzania prefer to deliver in their own homes which in most cases is a mud hut. The reason they choose their own home is that the medical facilities are too far away, are unsanitary or are not private. When expectant mom’s deliver in their own homes they usually have a family member, neighbor or friend assist who is not medically trained to handle even the simplest of complications.

The prevalence of Cerebral Palsy is higher in Africa and neurological damage occurs much more frequently during home births because of complications such as birth asphyxia and neonatal infections which a trained medical person could prevent.

While the infant mortality rate has decreased in recent years in Tanzania, maternal deaths related to childbirth have not. The fact that more than half of all births in Tanzania occur at home also contributes to the elevated maternal mortality rate.

Local village homes where the Maasai live. Many women give birth in their own home. Picture credit to Doug Vander Weide, Abōd Shelters® Chairman and volunteer on the project build.

Dave Copenhaver and his wife, Beth, who passed away in late 2016.

When Dave Copenhaver, Partner and Architect at BSB Design, Inc. in Dallas, TX, learned about the impact one Abōd Shelter® Birthing Center could make on the mortality rate of women giving birth he volunteered to have a fundraiser so that more Birthing Centers could be provided. Dave committed to raising money in memory of his wife, Beth, who passed away in late 2016. View Dave’s personal RallyUp campaign page.

Chad Riney, Production Director with BSB Design, Inc. in Dallas, TX with Dave, suggested having an office Walk-a-Thon in Support of Abōd Shelters®. There are many benefits to walking from improving circulation, weight loss to strengthening muscles and improving sleep. So choosing this campaign activity is a win-win for everyone involved. View Chad’s personal RallyUp campaign page.

Dave and Chad worked with the Marketing Department at BSB Design, Inc. and shared what they had in mind for the fundraiser. While there were many platforms available, they decided to go with Rallyup.com because of its:

  • low cost
  • simplicity
  • supporters could either make one general pledge or could pledge a per mile amount
  • walkers could easily share in real time how many miles they completed and post updates.

Chad Riney, an outdoor enthusiast, suggested having an office Walk-a-Thon in Support of Abōd Shelters®.

Utilizing technology allows us to really optimize the online donation experience, which ultimately creates an efficient, user-friendly way of processing donations that makes fundraising a far more manageable experience.

Five additional employees from the BSB Design, Inc. Dallas office have joined in the walking campaign and will walk as many miles as they can on Friday, March 24th with the goal of raising funds to build a Birthing Center.

Mike Penrose, Senior Designer / View Mike’s personal RallyUp campaign page.

Kevin Bauer, Senior Draftsperson / View Kevin’s personal RallyUp campaign page.

The group is really excited about being able to fund an entire Birthing Center and make an impact on the mortality rate of women when giving birth. As of this post, approximately $2800 has been pledged. There seems to be some competition with the top two rankings and pledges, which is good and they still have 3 weeks to accept pledges. Take an opportunity to look further into the details of the campaign, who the walkers are and then pledge your support to your favorite team member!

When companies allow employees the opportunity to get involved and support them in charitable giving to great causes, such as we did in building the RallyUp site for this Walk-a-Thon, and allowing them the time to participate… not only does the non-profit benefit, but the employee feels good about their company as well.

It takes just one person to make a difference. Interested in doing something similar with your friends, coworkers, club, church group? Reach out to Abōd Shelters® so we can partner and make a difference together!  michelle@abodshelters.com

Inside the Abōd Birthing Center recently built. Additional medical equipment has been added along with partitions to separate the beds and provide privacy. Photo credit to Rob Marish with Keystone.

Inside the community clinic where a large room of beds are located. It is used by anyone that is ill and there is no privacy. Photo credit to Rob Marish with Keystone.

Local pregnant women waiting in line to tour the new Birthing Center. Photo credit to Rob Marish with Keystone.


Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.
You can get involved and help us build a sustainable Village of the Future using Abōd® Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support through partnership or become a Sponsor in 2016. For more information about ways to partner with us or becoming a sponsor, please mail your interest to ginny@abodshelters.com


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

When Companies Allow Employees The Opportunity To Get Involved Great Things Happen
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Getting Involved… Is It Worth It?

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

A special ‘thank you’ to Jacob Sharp Photos for providing the cover photo!

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Michelle Rothfus, Project Coordinator Abōd® Shelters

I hope you can identify with me when I say, when trying to balance work and life it can be very difficult to find time to take anything additional on… let alone volunteer! I have been involved with Abod Shelters for about 11 years. Eleven years ago, I would have predicted that we would have had manufacturing in place in countries all over the world and there would be thousands of Abod’s built for people in need. I would have also predicted based on the positive communications we were receiving that we would have hundreds in storage all over ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice when a catastrophe hit.

We do have manufacturing set up in South Africa and have built approximately 50 Abod’s in different parts of Africa. We do not have extra in storage ready to be deployed. So… Is It Worth It?

I think of myself as a ‘people person’ and enjoy the communication I have with individuals and presenting Abōd Shelters® to groups. I respond to many email inquiries about what we do, organize and post all social media, coordinate project information, oversee financials, provide presentation materials and am Secretary on the Board. Oh yes, I also work full time and have a family!

It would be super easy to only focus on myself and family but when you understand what is going on outside your world, so to speak, how can you NOT get involved in some way?

After helping build dormitory housing all day in a remote area of Zambia, I spent the evening watching the local kids play soccer in an open field. Needless to say, they loved having their pictures taken.



While 11 years seems like a long time, it really has been a blink of an eye. For a few years, approximately 2008 – 2012, the project was on hold because of the US housing crisis. Since then we have worked hard to establish long term relationships with individuals and groups that have the same values and vision as Abōd Shelters®. As a result, we have made strong partnerships with organizations that target different areas but each has a need for housing that Abōd Shelters® was able to provide a solution for. For example;

Hoops of Hope focuses on raising money to reduce the AIDS epidemic. They were able to provide a machine in a remote area in Zambia that identifies how much medication an AIDS patient needs. Since installing this machine, hundreds of lives have been saved. They also focused their efforts on building a school in the same area. This school is the only secondary school in a 70-mile radius. It has over 500 students attending. Abōd Shelters® were built as dormitories to house the students and homes for teachers because they were much less costly and quicker to build than traditional housing.

Blessman International focus on the practical needs of people in order to open the door to spiritual needs in South Africa. They not only provide wells for clean drinking water and meals to those in need but educate locals in many different areas and trades to help them build their own businesses or earn a living. Abōd Shelters® were built for several different projects; day schools for orphans, homes for grannies and the homeless children they care for, lodging for interns when doing rotations and a home for a family whose home was destroyed by a falling tree.

Acts 2 Collective work with locals in the communities they work in to identify what is needed. The areas typically identified are;

  1. Farming and agriculture training so locals can grow their own food,
  2. Orphan care for children without parents and providing the children a place to call home and helping with the adoption process,
  3. Providing healthcare programs for pregnant women, safe child birthing and infant care, teaching smart health practices, providing HIV testing and treatment plans,
  4. Providing basketball academies to engage young people and build relationships,
  5. Building private schools and creating curriculums for existing schools and
  6. Building water wells to provide access to safe drinking water.

Abōd Shelters® were built through Acts 2 Collective to be used as birthing and maternity centers and to provide homes to a local farm to house workers.

Siouxland Tanzania Educational Medical Ministries (STEMM) was organized in 1997 to develop a relational bridge between Siouxland and Tanzania by addressing the priorities of spiritual growth, medical care, and educational opportunities. Over the past several years they have supported many Tanzanians in through education and medical programs. They’ve also branched out into health education and support for orphans.

Abōd Shelters® were built to provide homes for teachers, local workers and a birthing center for mothers to be.

While the NGO’s that we partner with have specific target areas they work in along with established relationships and local resources in the area there is typically a housing need of some sort where the traditional building structure is cost prohibited. Abōd Shelters® collaborates with NGO’s on housing needs and provides the solution.

Ty Pennington has also been working with Abōd Shelters® since November 2014 as our Celebrity Ambassador. He not only helped raise funds for 5 Abōd homes which were recently built in Tanzania but he also traveled with our group to help with the build.

“As I travel the world, I see a huge unmet need for sustainable, low cost housing for families living in poverty here in America and in places like Africa and India. The ‘Abōd Shelters® Village of the Future’ is a forward looking idea that provides not only secure homes but an emotionally healthier community environment for children to grow up.”

Ty Pennington

In every country all over the world there are housing needs. Many people believe that there are just too many issues or too much is needed to accomplish anything worthwhile. It takes one person to make a difference.

Is It Worth It? Definitely! I personally invite you to get involved today.

2017 brings lofty goals of building additional Micro Villages that consist of homes, classrooms and medical clinics. We’ve recently learned that Birthing Centers are desperately needed especially in remote areas. With your support, Abōd Shelters® can be a solution to those in need.

If you wait until you can do everything for everybody, instead of something for somebody, you’ll end up not doing nothing for nobody.”

Malcom Bane

We look forward to working with individuals and NGO’s to collaborate on their housing needs and providing a solution. Be sure to join us on our next build! Partner with us at www.abodshelters.com or simply connect with ginny@abodshelters.com. You may also donate to build an Abōd.

Blessman International Project build in South Africa. These homes were built for Grannies, their grandchildren and other children they had taken in because of the Aids Epidemic. Thank you to Jacob Sharp Photos for providing pictures.

Blessman International Project build in South Africa. The individuals that provided the financial support to make the build happen built the homes too!  Thank you to Jacob Sharp Photos for providing pictures.


One House. One Family. One Day.

www.abodshelters.com

 If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you!

Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.
You can get involved and help us build a sustainable Village of the Future using Abōd® Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support through partnership or become a Sponsor in 2016. For more information about ways to partner with us or becoming a sponsor, please mail your interest to ginny@abodshelters.com


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

Getting Involved… Is It Worth It?
read more

Abod’s Flexible Design: Allows for Greater Impact

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Thank you to Rob Marish at Keystone Pictures for the cover photo!

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Michelle Rothfus, Project Coordinator Abōd® Shelters

The original Designers of Abod Shelters® knew that the flexibility of the layout would provide many options to those in need but didn’t realize the extent of the impact the design would make on others.

Abod homes are high concept design, often lower in cost than standard construction and can easily be personalized while the natural light, cross breeze and open loft spaces provide helpful comforts. Abōd Shelters® are structures that were intended to address the social need for organized community design including secure homes, schools, safe play areas, community buildings and more.

Every Abōd Shelters® project has been a learning experience for the Abod team.

Learning Experience Examples:

  • There are children that are unable to go to school in South Africa because there are either no schools within walking distance and / or they cannot afford a uniform. Several Abod’s were built in Zebediela, South Africa as classrooms through Blessman International in 2009. Blessman International provides the uniforms for this small successful school system where more than 120 children attend daily to get educated and can play together safely.
  • It’s very common especially in remote areas for families to have their kitchen area outdoors. For those living near each other many combine their resources and cook and eat together while keeping a close watch on the young children. Five Abod’s were built on Del Cramer Campus through Blessman International in 2013 in a circular fashion to meet the Granny’s and their grandchildren needs. They cook and do laundry together in the center while keeping a close eye on the children.
  • Most schools in Africa provide housing for their teachers. When a growing school in Twachiyanda, Zambia needed homes fast for their teachers, Abōd Shelters® worked with Hoops of Hope to provide several extended Abod’s to meet the teachers and their larger family needs. Additional regular sized Abod homes were also built quickly for their growing population of students. Each home / dormitory can sleep 8 students with plenty of room for their personal belongings.
  • Childbirth is the number one cause of death in the village of Asikuma located in Ghana, Africa. In March of 2015 Abōd Shelters® worked with Kingdom Hoops to build birthing and maternity centers with the goal of decreasing mother and baby mortality rates. Additional Abōd Shelters® were also built near the village to support a fish farm and house workers and consultants.

“Building the Abōd Shelters® birthing center and providing a home for the maternity nurse has caused quite a stir.  The nurse said all of her senior colleagues have requested to be transferred to this area to use these nicer facilities.  I believe we’ve made quite an impact on Ghana with these new additions.”      – Doug Vander Weide, CEO and President of Valiant Wealth

Many people in 3rd world countries do not have access to a doctor or medical care. They would need to travel or walk several hours, sometimes days, to reach a doctor. This results in people only going to the doctor in an extreme emergency or in many cases, not at all. While working with Siouxland Tanzania Educational Medical Ministries (STEMM) on a project just a couple of weeks ago, Abōd Shelters® learned that many expectant mothers prefer to deliver their babies in their own homes, which in most cases is a mud hut. The reason they choose their own home is that the medical facilities are too far away, are unsanitary and are not private. When expectant mom’s deliver in their own homes they usually have a family member, neighbor or friend assist who is not medically trained to handle even the simplest of complications.

It was communicated to us that the prevalence of Cerebral Palsy is higher in Africa and neurological damage occurs more frequently during home births because of complications such as birth asphyxia and neonatal infections which a trained medical person could prevent.

While the infant mortality rate has decreased in recent years in Tanzania maternal deaths related to childbirth have not. The fact that more than half of births in Tanzania occur at home also contributes to the elevated maternal mortality rate. Of all pregnant women, only 46 percent are assisted during childbirth by a doctor, clinical officer, nurse, midwife or maternal and child health aide.

“In 2005, the infant mortality rate was 68 deaths per 1000, a vast improvement from the 1999 figure of 99 deaths per 1000. The under-five mortality rate also decreased from 147 deaths per thousand in 1999 to 112 deaths per 1000 in 2005.”

When Abōd Shelters® learned of the mortality rate and that it could be prevented, we worked with STEMM to get an Abōd dedicated to be used as a Birthing Center and built as soon as possible in a remote area of Tanzania. On January 11th, an Open House Celebration for the Birthing Center was held. The first in line to tour the inside… were 30 pregnant women!

I am certain that the original Designers of the Abōd had no idea that this low cost, safe structure would positively impact the lives of so many women and their newborns.

Abōd Shelters® isn’t just a home. They are a place of comfort and safety. They are emergency disaster relief that provide shelter and security. They are classrooms and libraries that nurture learning. They are technical centers and offices that provide an optimal working environment. They are medical clinics that save lives. They are dormitories and hostels for students to feel at home while attending school. They are sanitation facilities that provide privacy. They are churches and meeting rooms that bring people together.

Please help us build more Birthing Centers in remote areas to save lives. How can you help?

  1. Partner with us or provide an introduction to a potential partner. We can make a greater impact working together than separately. We have been able to build homes, dormitories, medical buildings and classrooms as a result of working together. Reach out to Abōd Shelters® so we can partner and make a difference together! ginny@abodshelters.com
  2. Get involved as an organization or individual through prayer, raising awareness or providing monetary support. We’d love to be able to share our Abōd Shelters® Story with your organization or group.  ginny@abodshelters.com
  3. Follow us on social media, like, share and invite others. Abōd Shelters® values the relationships we have made and we’re thankful for all of the support our friends have provided.

Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.
You can get involved and help us build a sustainable Village of the Future using Abōd® Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support through partnership or become a Sponsor in 2016. For more information about ways to partner with us or becoming a sponsor, please mail your interest to ginny@abodshelters.com


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

Abod’s Flexible Design: Allows for Greater Impact
read more

From Once Upon a Time Until Now and Into The Future with Your Support

Greetings Abōd Shelters® Friends!

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Michelle Rothfus, Project Coordinator Abōd Shelters®

Once upon a time, a chance meeting ignited a powerful purpose. On a trip to Soweta, South Africa, Doug Sharp, seasoned architect, experienced the extremes of poverty but was moved by the pride one woman showed in her shack. As she unlocked the padlock that connected the crooked door to her home, Doug could already see into her one room home through the slats of wood and metal making up the walled structure on the outside.

He smiled and accepted the invitation in. Sparse with only the necessities including a mattress, a small table with a few dishes and a couple of worn rugs on the dirt floor Doug sensed the pride the woman had in her home.

Design Challenge

Doug returned to the US and on behalf of BSB Design, Inc. accepted a challenge of designing a home for a family that could be built in one day, for as little as possible that could be shipped anywhere in the world. The project began with employees from BSB Design’s offices throughout the country attending brainstorming sessions and design charettes. Program goals included ease of construction, durability, security and design integrity. Teams developed solutions of all shapes and sizes using some of the most technologically advanced materials on the market. A simple yet sound design, defined by its use of graceful arches, rose above the rest as the best solution.

Doug Sharp, Founder of Abōd Shelters®, Retired Chairman and Architect of BSB Design, Inc.

Jerry Messman (on right) Retired Designer with BSB Design, Inc. speaking to housing officials during the first Abōd Shelters® prototype build in South Africa in 2006.

The Winning Design

Abōd lead designer Jerry Messman located in the BSB Design, inc. office in Tampa, FL, drew inspiration from the Catenary Arch, an organic shape found throughout nature. The innate strength of the arch is paired with structural steel and other high-quality components in a marvel of modern engineering, at once highly technical yet impressively simple to build.

The winning design from BSB Design, Inc., which ultimately became known as Abōd, is now being manufactured in South Africa and can be shipped anywhere.

Manufacturing in South Africa

Jacques and Lee-Ann Hammer, Abōd Shelters® Manufacturer located in Johannesburg, South Africa went through an optional but rigorous 2-year process of testing the materials and the design through the South African Government to get their housing certificate. In addition to the many other ways they can be used the certificate allows the Abōd to be legally used as housing in South Africa.

Read how this young couple, through being drawn to a higher calling, met Doug Sharp and became involved as Abōd Shelters® Manufacturers in Johannesburg, South Africa: ‘Manufacturing Abod Shelters is Higher Calling for South African Couple’.

Jacques and Lee-Ann Hammer, Abōd Shelters® Manufacturers, located in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Abod’s being built on the STEMM Campus for teachers and workers with the help of Ty Pennington. #TyAbodBuild

Kicking Off the New Year in Tanzania

Several Abōd Shelters® projects have already been completed in Africa with one finishing up this week in Tanzania; ‘Ten Abods to be Completed in 10 Days in Tanzania with STEMM and Ty Pennington.’ They are being built for teachers and workers in the local villages. In addition to the original 10, another Abōd will be built to be used as a Birthing Center with the goal of reducing the number of women that die every year giving childbirth. This is a really big issue in Tanzania as many women and babies could be saved during pregnancy and childbirth with clean and functional facilities and progressive education for the local midwives. Be sure to follow our Facebook page to view images of the build as they come in!

Flexibility of Design

Abōd homes are not only highly functional, sustainable and can be built in one day, they are often lower in cost versus standard construction. Natural light, cross breeze and open loft spaces provide universally enjoyable comforts. The basic shell is included, with add-on options (see right). Architects at BSB Design, Inc. created Abōd with flexibility in mind, so there is no lack of functionality or comfort, despite the price.

Options Include:

  • Different sized windows
  • Sliding glass door verses conventional door
  • Kitchen sink, shower tray, plumbing consumables
  • Washing line
  • Solar light kits
  • 8-litre hot water steel boiler

Shipping Outside of Africa

Recently, we have received many inquiries from individuals in other areas of the world that are interested in purchasing one Abōd for private use. We are grateful individuals are interested but the challenge is that it is very costly to ship just one overseas from South Africa. Depending on fuel prices it could cost an additional $3500 plus custom and clearance fees along with transportation from the port or airport to the individual’s location. Until we have manufacturing available in other areas, it would be much more economical to send an entire shipping container full to one location. While our goal is to set up manufacturing all over the world to use local labor and make Abōd as cost efficient as possible, we’re still in the beginning stages. With your support, we’ll grow our relationships, connect with additional partners and complete projects to contribute to solving the world housing crisis.

How can you help?

  1. Partner with us or provide an introduction to a potential partner. We can make a greater impact working together than separately. We have been able to build homes, dormitories, medical buildings and classrooms as a result of working together. Reach out to Abōd Shelters® so we can partner and make a difference together! ginny@abodshelters.com
  2. Get involved as an organization or individual through prayer, raising awareness or providing monetary support. We’d love to be able to share our Abōd Shelters® Story with your organization or group.  ginny@abodshelters.com
  3. Follow us on social media, like, share and invite others. Abōd Shelters® values the relationships we have made and we’re thankful for all of the support our friends have provided.

Abōd Shelters®, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.
You can get involved and help us build a sustainable Village of the Future using Abōd Shelters® through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support through partnership or become a Sponsor in 2017. For more information about ways to partner with us or becoming a sponsor, please mail your interest to ginny@abodshelters.com


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

From Once Upon a Time Until Now and Into The Future with Your Support
read more

Being Thankful… What For?

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Michelle Rothfus, Project Coordinator Abōd® Shelters

It’s getting to be that time of year. You know… THAT time when the cool breezes of fall start turning very brisk, when there is a dramatic change in clothes because the chill seems to go right to your bones and heavy soups, stews and hot pasta casseroles are the main menu items for meals. The worst of THAT time? When I cannot wear my sunglasses home from work because it is already dark! Yes, clocks have been set back for Daylight Savings Time here in the Midwest (US) and it feels like our days are shorter because it’s dark so early.

The change in the season means Thanksgiving is right around the corner. With it comes gatherings of friends and family you don’t see often, impromptu meals and potlucks, gifts for hosts and, oh yes, a reminder to be thankful. Am I not thankful enough throughout the year? Don’t take me the wrong way, I have MANY blessings to be grateful for. Maybe it’s the stress of the holidays coming up or maybe it’s because my family and I are uprooted now and most of what we own is in storage. Yep, that is it.

My husband and I sold our family home, the one our children grew up in. The one where we grew to love our community and make new best friends in. The one that all the kids came to hang out in. My husband and I are going through a transition where our kids are almost adult age and we are now most often are the only ones at home. Our kids are a little upset that we are permanently leaving the place where they made their most cherished memories, but realize they are growing themselves and pursuing their own young adult interests. I have reassured them that wherever we’re together… we are “home”.

The stress of being uprooted is a powerful reminder about how much having a safe, comfortable place to call home impacts your life. I keep reminding myself that my situation is nothing compared to what recent refugees, hurricane victims or homeless have gone or are currently going through. So, believe me, I am not complaining one bit!

We have decided to go with a smaller home but with more outside space, so we’re moving to the country. Until our home is ready to move in, we are “borrowing” living space – which means living out of suitcases for several months.

50 million children are living as refugees, uprooted by war, violence & persecution, UNICEF says.

Refugees at a makeshift camp near the Greek village of Idomeni; thousands are stranded at the Balkan border. Picture: AFP/Getty

I have learned over the years and has become part of my core values; that my life is MUCH better than I deserve and I have a responsibility, expectation and duty… to give back.”

I sometimes feel that I don’t give or do enough, but I do what I can and I hope you do to. Feeling thankful is a choice. So, for this week I chose to make a list, ‘My Thankful List’. And I’m taking it a step further by also creating a ‘I Am Going to Do in 2017’ list.

  1. I am thankful for my health, so I’m able to attend my kid’s activities, coach, and even practice with them many times. And that I’m fit to go on long-distance bike rides and crazy fast tube rides with the boat.
  2. I am thankful for my husband, who did the heavy lifting during our move; who always makes certain our vehicles are maintained himself; who takes on all the long-distance driving when we travel; who enjoys doing things with me and holds me up when I feel like falling.
  3. I am thankful for my children, and their diverse personalities that caused me to grow tremendously, to meet many people and go places I would never have otherwise on my own.
  4. I am thankful for my work, where I’m blessed to help others meet their goals and I enjoy the day-to-day variety of my responsibilities. And that has provided me with the opportunity to travel to Haiti, Zambia and South Africa and to become friends with amazing people.
  5. I am thankful for my freedom, so I can pursue my personal passions and religion and go where and when I want to without fear.
  6. I am thankful for long lazy weekends, that provide time to recoup and re-energize and sometimes to do nothing but sit, listen and enjoy what’s going on around me.
  7. I am thankful for my experiences, those that have impacted me to make me who I am today.
  8. I am thankful for my role models, such as my parents who were super strict so I understood respect; my in-laws who are full of grace and gave me a different parenting perspective; and my church friends who aligned me on the path to be saved.
  9. I am thankful for my sense of humor, and being able to laugh loud and so hard I pee my pants or spit a mouthful of drink across the room…or all over someone.
  10. I am thankful for my friends and acquaintances, who have been ready with the right things to say to lift me up, to offer help and advice or their home to use as needed.
  1. I will secretly pay it forward at least 1 time per month; do something or buy something in advance for someone.
  2. I will handwrite a thank you or “just because” note and give or mail it to someone at least 1 time per month.
  3. I will reach out to friends or family members that I haven’t been in contact with for many years.
  4. I will learn something new and different outside of work.
  5. I will volunteer to make meals (or part of) for families in need.
  6. I will travel to a new country.
  7. I will include my family in as many of these as possible.
  8. I will stay offline for one day every weekend.
  9. I will take ‘me time’ for a couple of hours every week and just focus on doing things for myself.
  10. I will increase my healthy habits everyday by drinking more water, eating more veggies and being more active.

Here’s my challenge to you: Open your heart and write your own items that you are thankful for and what you are going to do in 2017. Be sure to keep them in front of you so that you can refer to them often. If you’d like, send them to me (Michelle@abodshelters.com) so that I can share with others. You’d be surprised at how motivating it is to read someone else’s and how it inspires others to do the same. Happy Thanksgiving and Best Wishes!


One House. One Family. One Day.

www.abodshelters.com

If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you!

There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.
You can get involved and help us build a sustainable Village of the Future using Abōd® Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support through partnership or become a Sponsor in 2016. For more information about ways to partner with us or becoming a sponsor, please mail your interest to ginny@abodshelters.com


Being Thankful… What For?
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A Typical Tiny Home is not an option in areas where Abod Shelters work

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Michelle Rothfus, Project Coordinator Abōd® Shelters

The goal of the ‘Tiny House Movement’ is to create more affordable housing and to simplify your life. With the ‘Tiny House Movement’ in full swing, there are many options available for individuals downsizing, living more simply and saving a lot financially. The average tiny house is about 185 square feet and can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $90,000 or much higher depending on the extra options and craftsmanship. This amount does not include the land that it will be placed upon or the monthly utilities.

Why such a large difference in price?

The lower the cost depends on if you have the resources, time and know-how to build it yourself and if you are able to find free or second-hand materials to use. The majority of the cost is a result of the extra options. What are the extra options? These are the shrunk down items that fit in small spaces that typical people in the US would prefer not to go without, such as a water heater, refrigerator, stove, toilet, air conditioner, clothes washer/dryer, cabinets, counter, or a table.

Photo credit: Prothaus Interiors.

Photo Credit: The Alpha via New Frontier Tiny Homes

Photo Credit: K6 by kitHAUS

Tiny houses can be as diverse as the people who own them and “going tiny” can mean something entirely different depending on the person you ask.

I volunteer for Abōd Shelters® which is dedicated to providing affordable housing wherever it is needed around the world. We work in areas where the average daily income is less than $1.90 per day. Yes, you read that right. Go ahead, do the math. There is nowhere in the world, where a person could live on this amount. So, even a $10,000 Tiny Home is NOT an option for a family in need.

Even though housing is a fundamental right, 100 million people worldwide are homeless and are in need of a safe, quality built home.

People living in extreme poverty in Africa has grown substantially since 1990,”

– according to the latest World Bank Africa poverty report.

Abōd Shelters® started as a challenge to BSB Design from one of their most trusted advisors, Dr Robert Cooper, PH.D. He believed that BSB had much more to offer than just architecture and planning. He felt that BSB was a design firm that could impact the world in so many other ways and challenged the firm to democratize and create housing for 3rd world countries.

Photo Credit: Dr Robert Cooper, Cooper Neuroscience Lab.

Everyone deserves to live in a home designed by an architect.”

Jack Bloodgood Founder, BSB Design

So with Dr Robert Cooper’s urging and BSB Design’s founding principle thought in mind, BSB leaders came together with the challenge of designing a home for a family that could be built in one day, for as little as possible and that could be shipped anywhere in the world. The winning design, which was ultimately the Abod, is now being manufactured in South Africa and can be shipped anywhere.

Abod homes are not only highly functional, sustainable and can be built in one day, they are often lower cost versus standard construction. Natural light, cross breeze and open loft spaces provide universally enjoyable comforts. The basic shell is included, with add-on options. Architects at BSB Design created Abod with flexibility in mind, so there is no lack of functionality or comfort, despite the price.

  • Compact and cost-effective to deliver. By truck, ship or plane, the lightweight home can be delivered onsite for quick and easy assembly.
  • Readily manufactured in large quantities. All components are made from stock materials.
  • Quick and simple to assemble. An entire single unit structure can be completed in one day by 4 – 5 people.
  • High-quality, enduring structure has a projected low cost via mass manufacturing.

Abōd Shelters® Foundation collaborates with other non-profits or non-government organizations to provide housing for families, teachers, students, provide schools, medical and birthing clinics in areas in need. We recognize the value of collaborating with like-minded individuals and groups to benefit both through: Cost savings; increasing resources, skills and abilities; and improving efficiency. Most of all, collaborating allows both sides to accomplish much more, better, faster and smarter. In our case, it is providing as many homes to those in need as possible.

At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by ‘I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.”

– Mother Teresa

Interested in making a difference with homelessness, disaster relief, refugee housing? Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.

One House. One Family. One Day.

www.abodshelters.com

If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you! 


Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.
You can get involved and help us build a sustainable Village of the Future using Abōd® Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support through partnership or become a Sponsor in 2017. For more information about ways to partner with us or becoming a sponsor, please mail your interest to ginny@abodshelters.com


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

A Typical Tiny Home is not an option in areas where Abod Shelters work
read more

The Results of Hurricane Matthew: Trying to Recover in Haiti

Cover Photo Credit: People walk on the street after strong waves hit the coast at Siboney beach ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Matthew in Cuba. Reuters bdnews24.com

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Michelle Rothfus, Project Coordinator Abōd® Shelters

It’s very sad that the country of Haiti was hit with a powerful Category 4 hurricane when they were still recovering from the earthquake of 2010. Some areas were just beginning to flourish again when Hurricane Matthew’s forces caused many deaths, injuries and destruction. Warnings for Hurricane Matthew were in effect for Jamaica, Haiti, eastern Cuba and eastern and central Bahamas. It’s not just the safety and well-being of individuals during the hurricane that is a concern, it’s what comes after as well.

See The New York Times article, ‘Photos and Detailed Maps Reveal Hurricane Matthew’s Brutal Aftermath in Haiti’ to understand the destruction.

Haiti has been hit by many very strong hurricanes but even weaker storms that pass nearby have produced devastating floods and mudslides.

Matthew’s Track History

Because of the infrastructure and the way many houses are built in 3rd world countries there is a great amount of devastation. Not only are the structures easily destroyed but as a result of the devastation the main water sources end up contaminated and then sickness and additional deaths follow. There are always going to be threats to low-lying areas but in 3rd world countries it takes much, much longer to recover and rebuild.

Logan Abassi/Minustah, via European Pressphoto Agency

Houses damaged and destroyed by Hurricane Matthew line a mountain road in south-western Haiti but a lack of clean water could be the storm’s more deadly legacy. Photograph: Rebecca Blackwell/AP

Even though one would think that there is always the option of moving, people have very strong ties to their communities which means moving would be very difficult and disruptive to their initial well-being. Even in the US when Americans considered it likely that a disaster would occur in their area, the majority of them would want to rebuild in the same area. See The Huffington Post article, ‘Rebuilding After Hurricanes: The Public’s View’

It’s been reported by the United Nations latest tally that at least 500 people were killed by Hurricane Matthew and over 100 people are still missing. There are thousands of people displaced as well as additional repercussions as a result of the storm. Cholera is on the rise in Haiti after Hurricane Matthew flooded rivers and destroyed wells. If access to food, water and shelter do not improve immediately, the death toll is expected to increase.

What Matthew didn’t kill, cholera and infections are going to. Infections are coming in.”

said the Haitian Health Foundation country director, Nadesha Mijoba, speaking from Jérémie, a city of 30,000 that was hit by the full force of the category 4 hurricane.

What can you do?

Cash is the most helpful item to provide after a Natural Disaster as it can go directly to items needed for the specific area. Be aware of many scams or organizations that don’t disperse the funds where they are projected. Search the BBB if needed or stick to donating to reputable organizations.

Before sending anything, for example; water, sunscreen, insect repellant, cleaning supplies, clothing, etc. always find out what resources are available to take these items because if there is no way to store or disperse the items to use immediately, they become a hindrance to the efforts. For more information on why this is such a hindrance, read ‘When Disaster Relief Brings Anything but Relief’ from cbsnews.com.

The second most helpful item is your time. If you have the means to help even for a small period of time, you will make a difference.

We, at Abōd Shelters® Foundation, are looking for Partners to support our ongoing efforts of providing homes to people in need. Abōd Shelters® are a good fit for disasters as they can be swiftly deployed and quickly built to provide immediate housing. Be a part of making this happen. Are you an organization, nonprofit or NGO interested or do you have contact with one? Let’s talk… please contact ginny@abodshelters.com

Del Cramer Campus through Blessman Ministries. A small Abod Shelters Village is in the background where the grannies live with their grandchildren and other children they care for.

One House. One Family. One Day.

www.abodshelters.com

If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you!


Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.
You can get involved and help us build a sustainable Village of the Future using Abōd® Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support through partnership or become a Sponsor in 2016. For more information about ways to partner with us or becoming a sponsor, please mail your interest to ginny@abodshelters.com


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

The Results of Hurricane Matthew: Trying to Recover in Haiti
read more

One Humanity: What Can You Do to Make Someone’s Life Better?

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Merriam-Webster defines humanitarian simply as “a person who works to make other people’s lives better.”

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Michelle Rothfus, Project Coordinator Abōd® Shelters

There is an unprecedented number of people that need help worldwide. So who are actually providing help to these people in need? Other people. Most reference these individuals as ‘humanitarian aid workers.’ They work in front line conditions all over the world, facilitating the distribution of aid to people who have suffered from human or natural disasters.

While the job varies from truck driving, drilling wells, distributing food, water and clothing, to writing funding proposals or auditing books, it takes an individual that feels a true calling to be a full-time Humanitarian Aid Worker. Read ‘Why You Might Want to Work in Relief and Development (And Why You Might Not)’

While millions around the world are in dire need of humanitarian assistance, being a humanitarian worker is frequently unsafe. According to consulting group Humanitarian Outcomes, in 2015 alone, 287 aid workers were victims of major attacks.

“Humanitarian Outcomes (2016), Aid Worker Security Database https://aidworkersecurity.org/sites/default/files/HO_AidWorkerSecPreview_1015_G.PDF_.pdf

With aid organisations increasingly working in riskier environments to reach those most in need, 2013 was the deadliest year on record for aid workers, with nearly 500 attacks.”

What Makes A Country Dangerous for Aid Workers? by Jason Miklian, Kristian Hoelscher and Håvard Mokleiv Nygård

What makes a country dangerous to humanitarian workers? Jason Miklian, Kristian Hoelscher and Håvard Mokleiv Nygård wrote in theguardian five key characteristics that were uncovered about countries where aid workers are assumed to be the most at risk. See below insert or dive deeper into this group’s research on ‘Understanding Violent Attacks against Humanitarian Workers’.

Key Characteristics About Countries Where Aid Workers Are Most At Risk:

  1. Countries at war are more dangerous
  2. Whether combatants follow the “rules of war” has little impact
  3. Criminal violence doesn’t influence risk of attack
  4. An international military presence isn’t riskier – but UN peacekeeping forces might be
  5. More developed states are safer

How do we keep our aid workers safe and at the same time get to the people who are in need?

Having good relationships with the community members who are most influential is important to be safe. In ‘14 ways humanitarians can stay safe in insecure environments’ in theguardian, Rachel Banning-Lover collected a panel of experts suggestions on how humanitarian organizations can continue to work with most at-risk communities.

Photo credit: Rapheal Frankfurter, Executive Director of Wellbody Alliance

Suggestions to Work With At-Risk Communities:

  1. Befriend the Influencers
  2. Identify our own weak spots
  3. Relate to new players on the scene
  4. Set humanitarian standards for everyone
  5. Look out for all your staff
  6. Ask what value you bring
  7. Know the risks of working with certain donors
  8. Understand the ‘guys with guns’
  9. Accept that we aren’t politically neutral
  10. Use drones for good
  11. Leave security to the soldiers
  12. Set a clear point of exit
  13. Recognize that working with the private sector may bring greater risks
  14. Better aid will keep us safe

There are 130 million people that need help now so we need to balance keeping our aid workers safe and providing support to those in need.

While I don’t feel the calling to be a full time Humanitarian Aid Worker, I still get extremely frustrated over the time it takes – a snail’s pace – to get help to people in need.

Since I don’t have a bajillion dollars and it takes much more than money to solve these issues, I try to resolve to leave the big decision-making and actionable steps up to those that are most influential. I say “I try” because my heart is still substantially weighted and aching for those that are suffering. For me it helps my heart and mind to get involved where and when I can, which is on a local level in my own community.

You don’t have to work full-time as a humanitarian to make someone else’s life better. My coworker volunteers every Saturday morning at one of the local hospitals to cuddle and rock babies that were born premature. The mothers will never meet her to express appreciation and the babies will never remember her but she provides a soothing and calming human touch that is desperately needed for their growth so they can go home to their families sooner.

Photo Credit: Kye R. Lee – Staff Photographer with Dallas News.

Whether you have extra time to give each week or each month, below are examples that will make a positive difference in someone’s life:

  1. Visit someone in the hospital, nursing home or an elderly person in their home. This can be very lonely to those who do not have family or visitors to provide encouragement or comfort when they are in these situations. Many times bringing a calm dog (get permission from staff in advance), reading part of a book, providing a magazine – even if it is used, playing cards or simply visiting and chatting for a few minutes will make a big difference in someone’s life.
  2. Help the homeless by calling a local shelter to find out their needs. When I worked at a women’s shelter we would get a few calls from people that wanted to know what we needed but only had time to give. I would arrange for them to come in to make a nutritious meal with the women. This was beneficial for both the women that lived there and those that volunteered their time. The women would receive education on preparing nutritious, well balanced meals and have normal conversations with other adults. Many of the residents had addictions so having conversations and sharing about themselves was great practice and at times mentorships would develop. Another group saved hotel shampoos, toothbrushes and toothpaste and would package them up in a gift box with a note of encouragement for each new resident.
  3. Mow the yard, buy a bag of groceries or shovel snow for a single parent or elderly person. Single parents are sometimes stretched to the limit with the amount of responsibilities they have. A small gesture such as these take a huge load off their plate to be able to do something else that is needed. Without a doubt, you’ll lift their spirits. Many older individuals want to stay in their homes as long as possible and can do yard chores but may be limited somewhat. Every once in a while, one of my mom’s neighbors snow blows her drive during the winter. I know personally how much this helps and means to her.
  4. Provide a meal to a new parent or someone who is sick or recovering from surgery. Being a new parent, having a sickness or recovering from surgery can be very overwhelming where just taking a shower is difficult, let alone preparing a meal. Yet a nutritious meal is what they need to give them energy and get better. As you are preparing a casserole or pasta dish for you family, double it so that it doesn’t take that much extra time. Add a vegetable and fruit and viola… you have a gourmet meal to provide! Prior to visiting my aunt and uncle before he passed away from a terminal disease, I would stop by the grocery store, get groceries for my family and buy extra fresh fruit to leave at their house. I would write a bible verse on a 3×5 card and drop it in the bag. When I would return, the bible verses would be taped next to his bed and the fruit would be gone.

In all of these situations, you will put a smile on someone’s face, including yours, and more than likely inspire others to do the same for someone else.

If you wait until you can do everything for everybody, instead of something for somebody, you’ll end up not doing nothing for nobody.”

Malcom Bane

Interested in being ONE person that makes a difference with homelessness, disaster relief, refugee housing?

  1. Organizations, groups and churches of all sizes can help Abod Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support.
  2. College Students can help Abod Shelters spread the word on campus or bringing a campaign to your university.
  3. Through Partnering with companies and individuals who share our passion, we can provide homes to everyone in need.

Del Cramer Campus through Blessman Ministries. A small Abod Shelters Village is in the background where grannies live with their grandchildren and other children they care for.

One House. One Family. One Day.

www.abodshelters.com

If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you!


Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.
You can get involved and help us build a sustainable Village of the Future using Abōd® Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support through partnership or become a Sponsor in 2016. For more information about ways to partner with us or becoming a sponsor, please mail your interest to ginny@abodshelters.com


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

One Humanity: What Can You Do to Make Someone’s Life Better?
read more

One Humanity: Have You Ever Heard of the Boy and the Starfish?

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Michelle Rothfus, Project Coordinator Abōd® Shelters

I am both inspired and deeply saddened by how often individuals feel compelled to set out alone without the best resources, income, skill sets or tools because they recognize helping some is better than helping none. In many cases, they are willing to do so by putting themselves in uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous situations to make things happen.

As Nicholas Kristof wrote in his lengthy article, ‘D.I.Y. Foreign-Aid Revolution’ back in 2010:

“It’s striking that the most innovative activists aren’t necessarily the ones with the most resources or the best tools. If that were true, a team at the World Bank would have addressed the menstruation problem long ago, and G20 countries would be leading the effort to prevent Congolese warlords from monetizing their minerals. Rather, what often happens is that those best positioned to take action look the other way, and then the initiative is taken by the Scharpfs and Shannons (individuals referenced in the article) of the world, who are fueled by some combustible mix of indignation and vision.”

As I was pouring over the countless CNN Heroes nominations starting with the article I wrote last week on Thulandi Madondo, ‘Making a Difference in Kliptown: One Youth at a Time’, I was amazed and excited about how each of these individuals have singularly made a huge impact in the lives of so many all over the world just by recognizing a need, starting small and doing what they could.

Just as the little boy recognized in the story of the starfish…

Individuals may not be able to solve the problem at its root, but by having a heart the size of the world they are taking on the world’s problems – and making an impact – often where large organizations aren’t. Larger organizations often look at whether or not they can save all of the starfish. As a result, no one gets helped.

Take Paula Claussen, who twenty-five years ago took less than a one-hour drive to Mexico to donate clothing and was so shocked by the conditions that she started Project Mercy. The nonprofit has constructed 1250 homes for people in Tijuana.

I think an adequate shelter is a basic human need. Anyone that has a solid shelter over their head has a better chance of achieving a better life.” – Paula Claussen

A decade ago, Maggie Doyne, took a year off after high school and went hiking in northern India. What she witnessed in a war torn Himalayan village changed her future US college years to buying land in Nepal and becoming the mother of 50 children.

When Umra Omar visited her childhood community in the remote area of islands near the Kenya-Somali border she learned about a life-saving medical aid project that had been abandoned because of security reasons. She now helps Safari Doctors provide free basic medical services, including immunizations, maternal health care and treatment for malaria and other common diseases in the region to more than 1000 people a year.

Jeison Aristizábal has been working to change perceptions and give young people with disabilities in Cali, Colombia a brighter future. His nonprofit, ASODISVALLE (an acronym that translates to Association of Disabled People of the Valley), offers a range of services that have helped transform the lives of nearly 3,000 young people and their families — all for free.

These same kindhearted individuals receive criticism because they are said to only being a bandaid and not solving the underlying causes of the problems.

“It’s fair to object that activists like Doyne are accomplishing results that, however noble, are minuscule. Something like 101 million children aren’t attending primary school around the world, so 220 kids in Doyne’s school constitute the teensiest drop in the bucket. The larger problem can be solved only if governments make education a top priority (which they haven’t), just as ending the wars in Congo may require the concerted action of states. Well-meaning individuals like Doyne help at the edges but don’t fundamentally change the nature of the challenge; indeed, charitable construction of schools and hospitals may sometimes free up governments in poor countries to use their money to buy weapons instead.” Nicholas Kristof, ‘D.I.Y. Foreign-Aid Revolution’

But smaller organizations or individuals take a different attitude, they believe even saving one starfish matters. They leave the root of the problem to the big organizations believing that if even one individual receives the care needed to transform their life – it matters. And after experiencing that, who knows what that individual might turn around and do for someone else or even the world?

A lot of the lives that Abōd Shelters® have touched are because their friends, family or their small organizations have gotten together to help one family or one school or one community. For example, we understand that providing just one home for one teacher can make a lasting difference in a community because the lives of hundreds of children will be improved by that one teacher.

Interested in being ONE person that makes a difference with homelessness, disaster relief, refugee housing?

  1. Organizations, groups and churches of all sizes can help Abod Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support.
  2. College Students can help Abod Shelters spread the word on campus or bringing a campaign to your university.
  3. Through Partnering with companies and individuals who share our passion, we can provide homes to everyone in need.

One House. One Family. One Day.

www.abodshelters.com

If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you!


Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.
You can get involved and help us build a sustainable Village of the Future using Abōd® Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support through partnership or become a Sponsor in 2016. For more information about ways to partner with us or becoming a sponsor, please mail your interest to ginny@abodshelters.com


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

One Humanity: Have You Ever Heard of the Boy and the Starfish?
read more