April 19, 2012 by matt · Comments Off
I’m sure this has never happened to you, but today I got distracted at work…
I blame the internet (read: Twitter) for being so interesting. But at least it was a semi-productive kind of distracted; I started reading back through some of the very first posts on this blog, written by Jeremy way back in the day.
This was back when we still emphasized our Buy Shoes. Save Lives. program, and Jeremy ended a few of the emails with quirky phrases like “shod thyself” and signed off with some pretty epic monikers like “the rad-ifier” (someone who makes things rad, obviously) and “the wristbandits,” just to name a couple.
But all this rabbit-trailing was a great reminder of PLC’s history and what you have made possible! Some of you have faithfully read this blog for years. You’ve been with us through serious tragedy, and sky-high elation. You stuck with us when we failed (and wrote about it in-detail) and when we transitioned to our current Remedy Mission model.
You rooted us on back when this was all just a big, beautiful mess-of-an-idea. You believed in us, and I hope you know how grateful we are for it.
PLC turned 4 years-old last February, and that quick look back at our history reminded me how much further we have to go. By the end of the year we’ll be developing heart centers in 5 cities across the country—great news, right!? But the key word there is ‘developing,’ because these centers will likely take 5-8 years before they’re fully independent and self-sustaining.
So we need you to stick with us, to keep reading, and to remember that this won’t happen without you. Countless thousands of children are still waiting, and countless thousands will be saved if we can just keep moving and looking forward together.
With you to the end,
July 7, 2010 by Esther · Comments Off
Since, his surgery in January, Danar has steadily regained his strength and has begun to have new life.
Danar is one of nearly 50 children who have undergone surgery with PLC. And it is because of your donations that he can run, laugh and share life with his family.
You can continue to make a lasting difference in the lives of children like Danar by donating to our Remedy Mission — two weeks of partnering local doctors with international surgeons to provide 30 local heart surgeries for Iraqi children.
And we encourage you to share that spirit of making a difference with others — creating a ripple of change amid your family, friends and co-workers in your circles of influence. By giving through Remedy Mission, buying Klash from our Buy Shoes. Save Lives. program, or creatively partnering with PLC to find new ways of providing these heart surgeries, you can show your community a glimpse of peace and hope in Iraq as it becomes reality for children like Danar.
VISION & VALUES
By the end of Quarter 2 2009 PLC had spent $225,605 to fund heart surgeries for Iraqi kids, impacting forty families in life-changing ways, and decreasing the overall backlog by an additional ten percent.
You’ve heard that the Preemptive Love Coalition exists to eradicate the backlog of Iraqi children waiting for life-saving heart surgeries and to create cooperation between communities in conflict. But it is important to us that you understand how we seek to accomplish this mission and why.
We strive to fulfill our mission by creating…
- Local funding for local problems
- An ethos of volunteerism and community in hopes of subverting the prevailing distrust of one another
- International partnerships and infrastructure that will outlast our own organizational presence in Iraq
When we started in 2007 we began to calculate the need in terms of $10,000 surgeries for 4,000 children… or $40,000,000. The scary thing was the reality that surgery prices would likely go up with the global economic situation and that the 4,000 on “THE LIST” were probably just representatives of a larger number.
As we stared down what seemed to us to be a giant need, we finally realized that we would need to change the system and the rules of engagement if we would ever be a part of achieving the results we wanted. After a year and a half of ambling through different procedures and a lot of trial and error we implemented what proved to be our most impactful strategy to date: to partner with families for their healthcare.
Many in Iraq told us that the United Nations (and others) had created a culture here that prevented Iraqis from a willingness to engage in their own advancement; that the mentality was one of waiting around for others to give handouts. Still, we were hopeful that partnering with families for 25% of the package price would be a revolutionary start.
At the same time, we committed ourselves to seeking an additional 25% in local funding from charities, businesses, and local philanthropists.
All the while, we work diligently to maintain and extend the scope of our logistics and medical partnerships so that we can continue to provide the greatest services at the greatest prices.
Here are a few more details on how all that works…
MARKET vs. PLC PRICING
The life-saving heart surgeries we provide take place at the world-class Anadolu Medical Center (ASM) in Istanbul, Turkey. Before discounts and partnerships, the total market prices on the services offered by PLC begin at $22,000. For heart conditions that are more complicated, prices would easily exceed $50-75,000.
Through partnerships with Atlasjet Airlines, Anadolu Medical Center, and medical supply providers around the world, PLC is able to regularly facilitate life-saving heart surgeries for Iraqi children at 60-70% off market prices.
After all of our partnerships, discounts, subsidies and patient family contributions the remaining cash need per child is approximately $5,000 before we can schedule a surgery.
PLC also keeps cash reserves on hand for the occasional surgery that runs far above the average cost.
After PLC provides 60-70% discount off market prices for airfare, in-city transportation, and hospital services, local Iraqi sources (families, charities, businesses) pay an average of 57% of the remaining cash needs, and PLC pays the remaining 43% through our internationally donated funds.
Families of children seeking heart surgery are expected to contribute $2,500 toward the health care of their children. This $2,500 helps PLC offset the remaining cash needs related to international travel, diagnostic testing, hospital stay, surgical expenses, and/or post-discharge room/board needs for their children.
When the patient’s family cannot contribute this $2,500 out of their own personal savings, they are encouraged to appeal to extended family, friends, employers, and religious communities for financial help. Unlike many who work in the relief and development world, we do not believe that Iraqis are helpless or that we are their saviors. They have proven to be people of great dignity, creativity, and worth and our overarching commitment is to come along side them as they pursue hope & a future.
LOCAL IRAQI FUNDING (CHARITABLE)
For each surgery, PLC seeks an additional $2,500 from Iraqi businesses and charities (such as our partner, Kurdistan Save the Children). Charitable donations solicited by PLC are not intended to substitute for or reduce the family’s share of the total costs.
Through the shared responsibility for the funding of these surgeries, we hope to nurture a value of volunteerism and community that will eventually produce a greater love for all in our community and more local funding to solve local problems.
LOCAL IRAQI FUNDING (COMMERCE)
By investing over $25,000 to date in micro-enterprise development across multiple villages and cities through our Buy Shoes. Save Lives. program, we have sold enough hand-made Kurdish Klash shoes to fund 11% of our life-saving heart surgeries to date (other merchandise sales excluded).
This Buy Shoes. Save Lives. money is different kind of local solution to these local heart problems. Though the revenue itself is not “local” (Iraqi), neither the 11% for life-saving heart surgeries nor the $25,000 in micro-enterprise development would be available without PLC’s Buy Shoes. Save Lives. program.
This is yet another example of the people of Iraq working for their future, doing more than taking hand-outs, and playing a significant role in developing their own systems and sense of civic responsibility.
Thanks to Michael Duffield and NEED Magazine for covering Kadeeja’s stories and lending your voice in support of the effort to help Ahmad and the others from the Great Eight whose surgeries we are funding in Turkey right now.
December 14, 2007 by Jeremy · Comments Off
Buy Anything? Save Lives?
For some of you, it may already seem ludicrous that buying shoes could in any way be connected to saving lives. And now we are about to tell you that buying just about anything can help to save lives.
We recently stumbled across a New York Times article that tipped us off to a website that makes a percentage donation from any purchase on participating partner webstores to a cause of your choice (Buy Shoes. Save Lives., anyone?).
All you have to do is go to iGive.com, register as a user, and then use their website to navigate to hundreds of well known online retailers. That means when you go shopping at say, Gap.com or iTunes or HomeDepot.com or Expedia or buy.com, a small percentage of every purchase will be given to Buy Shoes. Save Lives.
The percentage donated usually ranges between 1-4%—certainly nothing like the 50+% to fund heart surgeries when you buy handmade shoes or stylin’ tees through our website—but this is a case where money is time and every penny counts when you’re trying to save the lives of Iraqi kids.
And when Americans spend over $100 billion (and growing) each year buying things online, we’d be more than willing to put a paltry one percent of that towards saving lives and investing in the local economy here.
So before you buy those last minute Christmas gifts online, go register at iGive.com and designate BSSL as your cause (No. 44486). Then anytime you shop online, make sure that you stop by iGive first to see if you can shop through a store that will let you buy anything to save lives.
Compassionate capitalism, anyone?
December 13, 2007 by Jeremy · Comments Off
Austin Monthly’s coverage of BSSL as some sort of “philanthropic superhero” doing “cool” things to change the world is on news stands now in the Austin area. We think we are outshone by the other 4 coverstory profiles ($100 laptops for kids in Africa!?!?!?!), but we are so grateful to have been included!
Thanks to Melissa, Robyn, and Lynn at Austin Monthly for all of your hard work.
Just a friendly reminder that – whether you own a BSSL tee and want one for someone else, or if you just haven’t gotten around to buying one yet – ordering your BSSL TEE today is the best way to guarantee that it arrives in time for your holiday giving. All orders placed by Dec. 15th will be shipped before Christmas. You guys are amazing! We’re so glad to have you on board with us… BSSL
December 5, 2007 by Jeremy · Comments Off
Ignite Apparel is a clothing company that donates every penny above production costs to a “cause”… such as Buy Shoes. Save Lives. They base their decisions on who to donate to on the amount of feedback they receive each month for a given organization. Please email email@example.com and let them know about Buy Shoes. Save Lives., the work we’ve done so far with your help, and the work we’ve yet to do.
A few weeks ago Buy Shoes. Save Lives. took stock of our assets, our debts, our inventory, and our projected future needs and determined that it was time to give a significant chunk of our money to a child named Aras from the Kurdish city of Halabja in Iraq.
Halabja now stands as an emblem of suffering for the Kurdish people; the site of Saddam Hussein’s March 16, 1988 gas attack against Kurds in which 5,000 died in one day.
It felt significant and symbolic to make our first child the child of the city whose scars are carried on today by children who suffer heart disease – nearly 20 years later – because of the gas attacks of that day.
We were nine and younger in 1988, and yet we feel our hands are dirty and that we am somehow complicit in the problems and pains of Aras’ people. $5,000 cannot repair decades of hurt – and decades to come – but as far as feelings go, it felt good to give our money away to Aras and his family.
Today Cody escorted a very nervous Aras and his mother to the airport, where they flew for the first time, and landed many delayed hours later in Amman, Jordan. They were greeted by one of the many partners in this endeavor, Brothers Together. Aras should be headed on to Jordan later this week for surgery.
We are nearly speechless at how amazing this has been. And we’re fairly certain we’ve received new hearts in this process, as well.
November 19, 2007 by Jeremy · Comments Off
Delshad, 5 years old
Delshad has a hole between the ventricles of his heart, and was singled out by doctors at the October screening in Jordan as a child who needs surgery in the near future, before pulmonary hypertension would leave him inoperable. His visa for travel has already been approved, and thanks to your continued advocacy and purchases, BSSL contributed almost 40% of the necessary funds and he will be headed to surgery this week! Sometimes we cannot believe this is actually working!