2022 & 2021 PROJECTS
This new project will be coordinated by Dr. Bidya Prasad Pant, a Nepali ophthalmologic surgeon who has dedicated his life to conducting cataract surgeries to help restore the sight of so many people. Students will be screened for vision and eyecare, free glasses will be distributed and students will receive proper medical treatment. Target goals are to screen 5,000 students, distribute 250 glasses and provide medical treatment, including appropriate medicine to 400 students. Project grant is $3,387.
This is another new project consistent with FFI’s desire to eliminate coal plants from the face of the earth as quickly as possible. These plants produce an inordinate amount of greenhouse gas emissions and adversely impact the health of surrounding communities. Chile is a county that produces 40% of its electricity through coal-fired plants. 28 coal utilities are located in highly concentrated areas along the Pacific coast. While Chile, along with more than 40 other countries pledged to eventually eliminate coal, pledges are just that. This project will provide pro bono legal representation and advisory services to communities impacted by coal plants, including a Chilean affiliate AEA Gener, of the US MNE AES company. The goal is to bring administrative legal challenges to accelerate the elimination of these plants and to provide legal representation to those persons living nearby coal plants who have suffered health impacts. FFI provided a grant to the NGO Incidencia Global, led by Miguel Fredes, who is cofounder of Chile’s first public interest environmental law firm with $5,000. It is wonderful to hook up with Miguel again as he was instrumental in connecting FFI to a small village in northern Bali years ago so that FFI could provide the funding for construction of a micro-hydro project that created up to 5 kilowatts of clean and renewable electricity.
In 2021, FFI continued to fund Planting Justice’s youth internship program in the amount of $3,000. The funds helped support Planting Justice’s program to support 35 low-income youth living in the east Oakland near the Planting Justice nursery. The youth develop skills while working at the nursery. While roughly one-third of the youth had a past history of contact with the Oakland Police Department, not a single youth intern was incarcerated during the past year. Moreover, 90% of eligible High School seniors completed their high school education and graduated with a diploma. Due to this continued success, in 2022, FFI increased its grant to $5,000 for 2022 to continue our support for this important project. During this year, Planting Justice increased its hourly wage to the youth to $19.
The youth learn all types of plant propagation techniques, seeding, cuttings, grating, transplanting, organic soil mixes, compost teas and other forms of organic fertilization, organic pest control methods, customer service and sales. There is also a culinary arts and nutrition curriculum. Youth are also obtaining a food handlers license as well for future employment. The funds are geared to help young people in high school facing many challenges. Notably, Planting Justice provides wrap around services to 25 young people ages 14-18 that include life skill coaching in mindfulness/meditation/nutrition and are receiving referrals when they need mental health counseling, tutoring, legal or housing support.
In 2022, FFI donated $2,500.00 toward the completion of this documentary film that is focused
on the environmental impacts of cigarette butt litter and eliminating single-use plastic cigarette filters. The film is expected to be completed in 2023. The grant enabled the film makers to complete filming with the main characters of the film ($1,500) and to hire an editing consultant ($1,000). The documentary showcases stirring examples of how professional surfers seek to protect and restore the health of our oceans. In 2021, FFI donated $2,500 that helped ship Cigarette Surfboards to Hawai’i, Ireland and South Africa and hire local videographers to film some of the main characters of the documentary. After the film is completed, the plan is to begin doing free community screening events to be shown at beaches, parks, libraries, museums, movie theaters, marine education centers, aquariums, non-profit spaces, art galleries, community centers, and community colleges. The film will be submitted to film festivals. In September 2021, in coordination with Save Our Shores, in less than three hours, 85 pounds of trash were collected at Santa Cruz beaches (including over 2,000 cigarette butts) and hundreds of signatures gathered to petition to ban the sale of single-use tobacco filters in Santa Cruz. The group is working with the City of Santa Cruz to pass the first ordinance in the country to ban single filter cigarettes.
FFI provided $3,900 to this women’s shelter for 2021 that was used to transform the roof terrace into an organic garden. Residents were trained how to make non-toxic solutions that were used as a fertilizer and pesticide. Since residents were seldom able to participate in life outside of Asha Rising due to fears of contracting COVID, once the garden began, there was less of a need to shop in the congested marketplace where not everyone was following mask protocols. Anxiety diminished and the residents watched with amazement as the new growth began taking place. In a matter of months, the terrace garden began offering up an abundance of vegetables and herbs including, eggplants, spinach, zucchini, squash, coriander, okra, peppers, cucumber and tomatoes. The funding could not have come at a better time due to COVID restrictions. This funding was instrumental in helping the women cope with the pandemic and has also led to other nearby apartments expressing interest in developing organic roof top terraces. For 2022, FFI approved $7,000 for general support to run the shelter including funds for emergency hip surgery and rehabilitation for a resident, and to employ a therapist to address the psychological needs of the 16 residents at the home.
FFI continues to fund CEDE’s work toward protecting and defending the rights of communities in regard to a proposal to build coal plant in Guinea by consortium of companies from Singapore, France, China and Guinea. In 2021, FFI provided funding in the amount of $2,500 that CEDE used to work closely with local representatives in several villages that will be impacted by the coal plant. This included document review, identification of community advocates, developing an implementation agenda and identification of community leaders. A visit to the proposed site of the construction took place in June and a training workshop took place in August. The training focused on documenting the environmental and public health impacts, legal empowerment of communities to better know their rights and the right to object to the project. CEDE is organizing several national NGO’s regarding this issue. These national NGO’s are supported by international NGO’s such as the Environmental Law Alliance World- wide, Center for Transnational Environmental Accountability and Human Rights Watch. Based on the work conducted in 2021, and the importance of ending coal plant approvals in the world, FFI has approved $3,000 to continue this work in 2022.
FFI provided $2,500 to CODED in 2021 for legal representation to communities to address the discharge of effluents from the palm oil company FERONIA into a nearby river that has caused health impacts to the local community. CODED has continued to take water samples to document the connection between the company’s discharges and the health symptoms. CODED has collaborated with the regional Public Prosecutor that has also collected evidence and has opened a criminal file against several top level employees of FERONIA. For 2022, FFI supported CODED in the amount of $5,000 in order to move forward with the litigation.
FFI provided Pro Public $3,000 in 2021 to support litigation activities to protect the environment and public health of the Nepali people. With this funding, Pro Public was successful in several significant cases in the Supreme Court including obtaining an interim order against the government’s plan to construct a dam or water diversion project along the Kali Gandaki River, and an interim order to prohibit the illegal cross-border sales of Nepal’s captive elephants into India in violation of the CITES treaty. For 2022, FFI provided $5,000 for Pro Public to continue with its cases against construction of an international airport that would have destroyed 2.4 million trees, to relocate cement industries and other polluting industries from the World Heritage site where Buddha was born in Lumbini, protect forest land around Pokhra, and to stop a hotel from boring into the ground water in Namobudha, to stop operation of a brick kiln. In the biggest legal victory that FFI has supported, the Supreme Court of Nepal stopped the airport project from going forward.
FFI funded Mujer U’wa $3,000 in 2021 and $5,000 in 2022 to support of U’wa women in areas of women’s rights, children’s issues, food security and public health. Funds provided support to indigenous women at Las Salinas Village by training indigenous women to lead and do the work of land recuperation and reclamation, territorial demarcation and defense against exploitation of oil and other natural resources on their lands, and creating food security by selling organic coffee and other crops as well as basic literacy/math courses classes and crating traditional crafts for sale in the marketplaces. Funds supported the purchase of basic necessities including seeds for crops, cooking equipment, building equipment, mattresses and blankets. Funds will continue to be used for the translation project of community-based research that raises public awareness of the U’wa and its struggles to ensure land security against constant government and corporate threats to the natural resources in and around its territory and to women in the Indigenous Guard, a largely-male group, as they participate in non-violent leadership and community-based governance.
In 2021, FFI provided $2,154 to plant over 800 trees along the banks of the Irrawaddy River and in other small villages near Mandalay. For 2022, FFI provided $4,500 to support additional tree planting in and around these villages as well as the planting of organic vegetables so that families in these villages can stop using pesticides and earn a living through the sale of the produce to the local communities. These goals are being accomplished. See pictures on the website.
Norway provided funding for the construction of the Jeevan Jyota Blind Hostel for 50 blind students studying at the Panchodaya Secondary School in Danghadi, Nepal. FFI provided funding for the purchase of 50 beds and furniture for the students. The project is completed.
Pictures will be provided on the website.
In 2020, FFI made a grant to the Delek Children’s Foundation in the amount of $3,000 to provide shoes for needy children in several villages in the Himalayas in Nepal. Due to COVID, the project could not go forward until the fall of 2022. I am happy to report, that Thupten Donyo and a team of volunteers from the USA delivered 1000 pairs of shoes, school uniforms, school supplies and medicines to 14 different schools in Solukhumbu, Nepal. Of this total, FFI sponsored 250 pairs of shoes.
In 2020, FFI made a grant in the amount of $1,500 to Toxics Links in New Delhi to help promulgate the largest international environmental film festival in India. While the film festival has not been able to take place for the past several years due to COVID, the film festival is scheduled to take place during the beginning of December, 2022.
+$2,500 to support Planting Justice’s (PJ) new program to provide paid internships for formerly incarcerated youth released from Camp Sweeny and other at risk youth to work at PJ’s 2- acre nursery in East Oakland, CA. This program is an extension of FFI’s 2017 funding involving many of the same youth. This program will also offer resume-building, income generating and life skill building opportunities for these youth.
+ $1,000 for laboratory construction and $1,800 for hospital beds and other furnishings.
FFI previously funded the construction of piping so clean water could be delivered to the Chewele Health Clinic and Community Centre. The Clinic’s facilities now need to be updated in order to receive government accreditation to provide care for government insured patients (the only health insurance for rural populations). Once renovations are complete and clinic facilities approved for the National Health Insurance Fund, the project improvements will be fully sustained by funds from patient care activities. All eligible patient care will be paid for by the government’s reimbursement and income will increase to the Clinic by more than 80% above present levels. The changes that are required include the renovation of a laboratory and 10 rooms in the Comprehensive Care Centre (of which 4 currently hosts the HIV/AIDs program) with the remaining rooms to be used for maternal/child related and other clinical services. Without these required changes, the clinic facilities will not be accredited to provide care for government insured patients and very few patients will be able to attend the existing healthcare resources at the clinics. FFI will help fund part of this important project.
+$2,775 to support this women’s shelter to expand its food delivery program to the surrounding area.
The funding will be used to launch a training program to train residents in making and selling nutritious food. An instructor will be hired to teach the residents to cook healthy food, and a refrigerator, stove and other cooking utensils will be purchased with the goal of doubling the number of women who receive free meals on a weekly. The secondary goal of the project is to help the shelter become more self sufficient by selling meals to working women in the community.
+$3,000 as continued support to U’wa indigenous women to build female leadership, improve public health, and work toward the demarcation and defense of territorial lands.
+$3,020 to purchase, transport, plant and provide maintenance for trees and organic vegetables in three rural villages north of Mandalay.
$2,500 to support the conservation of important heritage sites in Nepal.
+ $2,500 to reduce the amount of plastic waste that makes its way to coastal zone areas and into the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System from Honduras. The funding will be used to engage neighborhood associations, middle schools, and university students to clean up waste and collect data about the composition of waste generated on the island and to draft a new municipal ordinance on waste reduction and source separation.
+$1,500 to address the problems of flooding and damage to marine life caused by the improper disposal of plastic wastes in rural communities. This funding will assist this environmental organization to create awareness about the dangers of plastic waste, starting with school children in rural communities of Freetown. This initiative will help invigorate the movement toward legislation to address the high level of plastic use in the country.
$3,000 as continued support to U’wa indigenous women to build female leadership, improve public health, and work toward the demarcation and defense of territorial lands.
$3,268 was provided for the purchase, transportation, planting and maintenance of 950 trees in Kyun Bin and U Yin villages, north of Mandalay. The need for tree planting is paramount, especially in a country like Myanmar, sandwiched between India and China, world leaders in greenhouse gas emissions. Temperatures in Myanmar continue to rise more than most other countries making it imperative to plant as many trees as possible.
+$2,500 to transport 15 youth from Camp Sweeney Juvenile Justice Center to Planting Justice’s East Oakland nursery on weekends to be taught from inspiring & formerly incarcerated educators about urban sustainability, environmental justice and economic development alternatives and give these youth a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help transform a 2-acre empty lot in their community into a globally significant plant nursery. This mentoring program taught youth how to propagate fruit trees, plant and harvest, cook healthy meals with ingredients grown on-site or sourced locally and participate in a health and wellness curricula.
$3,340 for trauma based therapy for this group home involving survivors of sex trafficking . Between January –November, 2018 seven women were provided up to 270 counseling hours. Funds were spent on specialized staff training, a program to work with residents in making handicrafts and a meal delivery program geared to elderly survivors in the community.
For the year, 330 meals were delivered to about five women per month (fruit, bread/butter & eggs or roti, vegetables and chicken) and four community meals were held at the residential center involving 117 needy people.
+$3,000 for for ProPublic to file legal actions to protect various waterways and groundwater threatened from development projects. ProPublic is a public interest organization in Nepal that FFI has funded for decades. The groundwater in the Kathmandu is decreasing at an alarming 2.5 meters annually and the Bagmati and Bisnumati Rivers are severely polluted due to industrial and residential discharges into the rivers continuing without any enforcement. In one case Propublic seeks to stop illegal construction in a World Heritage site that has dried up the local water source. In a second case, ProPublic seeks to protect Queens Pond, a square-shaped pond that dates from the 17th century that is one of Kathmandu’s most famous landmarks and known for its religious and aesthetic value. It is an important source of water for birdlife and a significant place for the recharging of underground water in the Kathmandu Valley. ProPublic filed a unique action against government officials to hold them criminally liable under the Ancient Monument Protection Act. After continuous lobbying, protest, and filing the criminal case, the government decided to restore the pond to its original form.
$2,400 to these schools in Lowarengak, a town of roughly 15,000 pastoralists and fishers along Kenya’s Lake Turkana near the Kenya, South Sudan and Ethiopian borders. This area is undergoing massive scale livelihood collapse – primarily from the effects of the Gibe II dam which has radically reduced river flow, destroying traditional fishing and lakeside grazing vital to the survival of thousands of Turkana. Hunger, malnutrition, and diseases (including cholera) are prevalent in this region.
In light of this background, FFI provided funding to purchase 200 straw sleeping mats and 20 new mattresses (children of families from distant locales/orphans), repair pipes and carpentry work in the school kitchen, repair desks, construct new benches, construct a security fence, paint classrooms, purchase social studies, math, history, science, exercise and fiction books, wall charts, paper, pencils and small supplies and two large first aid kits (with medicines, ointments, bandages etc.) –there are no first aid facilities in the region).
$2,000 for the purchase of wonderpads – washable sanitary pads for young girls. The Kliptown Youth Program provides tutoring training, meals and supplies to approximately 500 children. FFI partnered with the Kansha Foundaiton and the Mark Day School in Marin to provide funding for the purchase of wonderpads for girls at the youth program and primary school.
The rationale behind the wonderpads is simple: When girls have access to reliable menstrual health products they can focus on education and stay in school every day. Over 800 packs of wonderpads were purchased and distributed.
$2,500 to Planting Justice to Expand the Meditation Garden at Mr. Grace’s Special Day Class at McClymonds High School in Oakland, CA. FFI hooked up with Planting Justice, an amazing organization that continues to make its imprint in urban areas around the Bay and beyond. Funds were provided to enlarge the vegetable garden at this inner city school and work with special education students teaching gardening skills and good nutrition. See photos here.
$2,500 to Aisha Rising to assist women in the red light district of Kolkata, India who are no longer involved in prostitution. This unique project seeks to interrupt the cycle of exploitation by providing older women, many who have suffered prolonged illness and trauma with alternate pathways for sustaining themselves. Funds will initially be used to help create a permanent home for these women (a five-year lease on a home for 6-7 women is already in place), procure food, medical check-ups counseling, attend literacy classes and eventually find employment. Funds will help establish a kitchen area to allow the women to cook aloo/puri and later sell to women in other organizations.
$5,000 Tanzaniza LEAT: Support for litigation to eliminate lead from paint in Tanzania. FFI has supported several successful actions by the LEAT team over the years. In 2014, LEAT will be working to eliminate lead paint sold in stores and prohibit its production and import.
$3,000 Mujer U’wa, Colombia. Support for law schools costs for female U’wa.
$2,500 for Global Student Embassy (“GSE”), an international youth student organization. The funds will be used to conduct curriculum development for Eco-Action programs in Nicaragua and Ecuador.
$5,100.00 to Centro para Justicia y Derechos Humanos en la Costa Atlantica Nicaragua (CEJUDHCAN) to work with the Mayagna Indians to protect their territorial rights against foreign corporations. The group has produced a guidebook of environmental laws to instruct indigenous peoples of the Atlantic how to obtain title to their lands to prevent destruction from a major logging development. Recently, FFI funded the group to engage in a women’s empowerment training on issues affecting local communities.
$3,500.00 to CEPDA, an environmental public interest law firm in Chile working to protect pristine forest areas in their country from foreign logging interests and harmful development projects.
$15,742.00 to Corporacion De Defensa De La Vida “(CORDAVI”) for legal assistance in helping grassroots and indigenous organizations in the Amazon River Basin in Ecuador defend their environmental rights affected by oil and mining activities. The lawyers for CORDAVI have worked with local communities and the government to create forest reserves and legal title to land in order to protect the rainforest from environmental disastrous projects. CORDAVI lawyers have been requested to provide legal and technical assistance to the Confederacion de Nacionalidades Indigenas del Ecuador and collaborates with Luis Macas, the indigenous leader. Dr. Byron Real has published a book that serves as Ecuador’s seminal citizens guide to environmental enforcement.
$8,900.00 to the Lawyers Environmental Action Team (“LEAT”) to fight for the rights of the Masai people whose lands have been exploited and confiscated in Tanzania and to protect the largest remaining continuous mangrove forest in East Africa. LEAT obtained an injunction stopping the African Fishing Company from developing the world’s largest proposed industrial prawn farm which would have destroyed 25,000 acres of shoreline mangroves.
$3,000.00 to YEUANI, a public interest law firm fighting to protect maquiladora workers from exposures to toxic chemicals in Tijuana, B.C. Mexico. YEUANI provides free legal and consulting services, and provides workshops and training to maquiladora working women, grassroots communities and other non-governmental organizations. In the last year, YEUANI offices have been vandalized repeatedly by the government and an attempt was made to kill the director.
$500.00 to Project Underground’s outreach campaign to individuals and organizations working in support of the U’wa indigenous peoples in Columbia.
$16,500.00 to Eco-Friends in Kanpur, India for their legal and educational campaign to improve the water quality of the Ganges River which has been severely degraded from cremated bodies, industrial pollution and sewage discharges. Eco-Friends obtained a cease and desist order from the Supreme Court and continues its efforts to monitor compliance and mobilize thousands of students and Indian people to protest generations of neglect. Rakesh Jaiswal, the founder of Eco-Friends was recently recognized by His Holiness The Dalai Lama in an awards ceremony called “Unsung Heroes of Compassion” this summer in California. Based on FFI’s initial support, in 2002, Eco-Friends was able to obtain several grants from larger foundations in order to conduct toxics monitoring of the Ganges and to continue its efforts to protect the River.
$17,800.00 to Pro Public in Katmandu, Nepal to help this environmental advocacy and litigation group fight to protect the air, land and water of their country. With the financial support of Friends Foundation, Pro Public established the “Friends Foundation Pro Public Scholarship Fund to fund two girls from the untouchable community to further their educational studies. Pro Public was successful in a legal challenge against several factories polluting the air quality of the Katmandu Valley. The government issued a notice to close down these factories and a study took place to improve the pollution control technologies of these facilities With FFI funding, Propublic has conducted trainings for the judicial on environmental issues.
FFI funding helped Pro Public achieve several legal victories including an order from the Supreme Court to the Ministry of Health to set up a committee to include Pro Public to study the problem of medical waste management and an order form the Supreme to the government to provide potable water for those compelled to drink arsenic contaminated water. FFI funds supported Pro Public to obtain a favorable ruling in the Court of Appeal to protect a valuable wetland in which the Court ruled in favor of public ownership. From 2009-2012, Pro Public in Nepal was successful in three of its legal cases.
The group obtained a Writ of Mandamus from the Supreme Court ordering government agencies to 1) take immediate measures to protect the endangered one horned rhino in and around Chitwan National Park; 2) follow the provisions of the Water Resources Act, enforce the licensing system and control the illegal exploitation of underground water; and 3) safely dispose of pesticides to make public areas safer for children and residents, study the impact of pesticides on the health of local residents, provide free medical treatment and establish a fund for compensation of injured persons.
$15,300.00 to the Environmental Legal Assistance Center (“ELAC”) in the Philippines to help document mercury contamination from a mining company, seek rehabilitation of the Bay, pass an ordinance to ban the quarrying of mine tailings and to protect tribal ancestral lands in Palawan by drafting guidelines to protect such rights. Quarrying activities have ceased and proposed mining activities have been put on hold. ELAC has brought a successful legal action to stop fishing companies from employing child laborers and will be filing a case to prohibit illegal fishing involving dynamite. ELAC has worked to protect mangroves from illegal developments and has successfully reduced illegal fishpond development activities occurring in these areas. Currently, FFI supports ELAC to protect indigenous Tagbana communities in northern Palawan from illegal land schemes that are taking these properties away from the original inhabitants.
$14,500.00 to the U’wa Defense Project/Amazon Watch and Mujer U’wa supporting the U’wa fight to preserve their indigenous territory in Colombia from oil exploitation. FFI funding over the years has gone toward a collaborative legal action to protect U’wa land from Occidental Petroleum’s massive oil drilling project in northeastern Colombia. In August, 2001, the oil company withdrew its plan to drill in the first exploratory well site on U’wa ancestral territory. Despite this victory, the State petroleum company is now exploring for oil on U’wa territory. FFI has supported leadership training for U’wa women and women’s workshops on human rights/environmental rights. FFI has provided financial assistance to the first U’wa women ever to study law at a Colombian University and for post degree international and human rights law training program.
$6,000.00 to the Center for Environmental Justice in Sri Lanka to help restore the devastation to the country from the December 2004 tsunami, provide water testing, green belt restoration and conducting legal aid clinics in the Tsunami affected areas.
$1,000.00 to rural Honduras for a training program to utilize improved agricultural techniques to increase food production.
$1,800.00 to ELAW Peru to fight against the government granting commercial licenses for harmful pesticide products, to develop federal legislation to ban certain pesticides and to promote alternatives to pesticides. Successful legislation was passed in Peru with help from this group.
$1,025.00 for the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law to assist ICEL’s efforts to curtail toxic contaminants from pulp, paper and tannery companies into the Ciujung River on the island of Java, Indonesia. The river is used by communities for drinking, bathing, irrigating rice fields and other agricultural products. ICEL was successful in getting best available control technology from a major polluter of the river.
$450.00 to purchase a video camera to document the environmental degradation occurring in the La Amistad Biosphere Reserve in Costa Rica from deforestation and coal and other development projects.
$600.00 to a medical clinic in the San Blas islands in Panama for refrigeration of medicines.
$700.00 to Centro de Pesquisa Indigena (The Indian Research Center) for reforestation of the Krenak indigenous reserve in eastern Brazil. Numerous trees were planted based on our donation.
$650.00 to the System Environmental Protection Project to provide village workshops in Nigeria to educated farmers and community members on alternatives to slash and burn agriculture and the harmful effects from agricultural chemicals.
$430.00 to Individual & Community Rights Advocacy Forum, Inc. (ICRAF) to educate the local people in Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea about the environmental consequences to forestry and mining activities and to develop contacts to organize an opposition for to such projects.
$100.00 to Alberto Muenaca as seed money to begin to develop a film about the plight of the Quichua Indians in Chile.
$1,000.00 for the second edition of the Natural History of the University of California, Santa Cruz campus which was completed in 2008.
$2,400.00 to the Dick Cooley Endowment at U.C. Santa Cruz for student projects that will have a positive impact on the environment.
$900.00 toward the preparation of a conservation management plan for a wilderness area in Alaska.
$600.00 toward the making of a film on the harmful effects of the ozone depleting chemical methyl bromide which is often sprayed on much of the food we eat.
$200.00 to help start a newsletter and organize the community regarding toxic pollution of the Fort Belknap Indian reservation by the Pegasus gold mine in north-central Montana.
$300.00 to examine the genetics of several rare and endangered plants in northern California areas pressured with development proposals.