La Madre is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a dinner May 10 at Caesar’s Restaurant in San Francisco, one of two fundraising dinners each year.
La Madre gives away about 95 percent of its donations in small grants that average $2,000 to $3,000 a year.
“It’s a very small-scale operation and we try to work with people who help people on a small scale effectively,” said board member Gregory Gollnick, a retired airline pilot.
“We’ve got a project in Eritrea where we gave them a cow and she had a calf and they named the cow Madre,” said Gollnick.
A Dec. 16, 2010, letter from Capuchin Franciscan Father Zerayakob O. Michael enclosed photos of the cow with the little school community in Dekemhare, Eritrea.
“Thanks to your esteemed organization we are getting enough milk (for) all members of our community,” wrote Father Michael.
“All of us are very, very happy. … May the child Jesus bless you all.”
La Madre helps those who provide direct aid, usually but not always professed Catholic religious, said board member Paul Crudo, a retired dentist.
Mary Clark, a nurse, is involved on the ground in developing countries with La Madre-supported groups.
She returned in December from Gimbie, Ethiopia, where the midwife and nurse practitioner conducted a 10-week midwife training program and then traveled to Nairobi to review a nurse training project.
“She was helping with very basic health problems, they don’t have a health system like we would think of,” said Gollnick, adding at one point Clark, one of the widowed Frank Clark’s nine children, was working in 117-degree heat.
“They had a nurse from Uganda … who later had to take some months off because she was shot. It’s rough territory.”
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One of those Mary Clark works with is Ugandan Sister Angela Limiyo who last year moved her medical clinic and nurse training school from Kuron, South Sudan, to Uganda because of the violence in Sudan.
In a note accompanying a photo of her work with Sister Angela, a Missionary Sister of Mary Mother of the Church, Mary Clark wrote:
“… we had our share of treating warriors’ battle wounds in the Kuron Medical Clinic.” After patching up the young warrior, Mary Clark said they sent him on to the hospital. “He lived. The Toposa warriors of South Sudan are very tough,” she said.
The idea is a little money can go a long way if it is spent directly by those who need it.
La Madre provided satellite phones for a remote mission school in Sierra Leone and equipped a radio station for Dominicans in the Czech Republic.
It supports orphans from the Kosovo-Albanian war in Albania and sends money to help HIV/AIDS orphans in Tanzania. It sends money to a health clinic run by Presentation Sisters in Guatemala and to a home in Jamaica for children living with HIV/AIDS.