Sunday, March 9, 2014

Clearing Up Some Misperceptions

It seems that we have several misperceptions in our community about Dongdaewon fundraising.  We wish to clarify these.  If you have any concerns, please talk or email any of the Dongdaewon committee reps and we would be happy to clarify with you further if needed.  You can contact us via this blog.

Misperception # 1:  The school keeps half of all money raised.

All proceeds raised for Dongdaewon go to Eugene Bell to buy medicine for our DDW patients (with one exception that will be discussed below).  The only money kept back is money to pay for the cost of printing and purchasing tshirts to sell, and occasional expenses such as purchasing donuts or pizza to sell.  Most of our things we sell, and classes we offer, are generously donated in terms of time and materials, which is amazing, because then we have less expenses and make more profit, which means more medicine and more patients treated.  To be clear.  SFS does not keep any of the profits raised.

The one exception.  The Grade 5 team fundraiser for the Dongdaewon Fair.
At the fair, the only exception to all proceeds going towards Dongdaewon is the Fifth Grade Desk Sales.  Every student in fifth grade has the option of creating their own business.  The criteria for this, is they pay 10,000won for the rent of their desk, and they can sell anything they want from it, as long as it is not food related (unless it is part of their Genius Hour Project).  Half of the money made from their sales also goes towards Dongdaewon, the other half can be kept/donated or spent at the Fair.  It was great this year to see many students donate most or all of the money they made to Dongdaewon.  The 5th grade fundraiser is a very successful model.  That team alone often raises enough to cover almost the entire treatment for one MDR patient.

Misperception # 2:  We send money to North Korea

Ms Horne & Ms Carpenter presenting Dr Linton and the
Eugene Bell Foundation with the Funds Raised By SFS
All funds raised (as stated above) go towards buying MDR medicine for MDR patients who are on the Eugene Bell MDR program in North Korea.  The medicine is purchased and then shipped to North Korea.  All of it is accounted for at both ends of travel.

Misperception #3:  Medicine sent to North Korea Does Not Get To Patients It Is Intended For

Eugene Bell and Stephen Linton (founder and head of Eugene Bell) visit North Korea several times a year.  They monitor everything with a fine tooth comb.  They have a TB expert who travels in with them each time on the team.  Patients are photographed, records are kept and checked, all medicine is accounted for.  If patients start treatment and do not finish it, it's a huge concern because this is how we develop other forms of drug resistant TB.  When a strain of TB is passed on, it is whatever strain the carrier has.  The North Korean Ministry of Health are VERY concerned about MDR TB and work closely with the EB teams to ensure that visits go smoothly and patients get their meds.  The fact that patients are regularly graduating cured is testament to the effectiveness of the program that has been developed, and speaks to the fact that the patients are getting their medicine.  You can browse through this blog to check on our patients and get updates.

SFS sends a staff rep once a year on the EB team.  This year, we will be sending Ashley Simpson.  Our Dongdaewon Staff Reps can speak to the effectiveness of the monitoring and checking that goes on at each clinic.  If you would like to speak to any of our previous staff reps, you can speak to
  • Sarah Carpenter
  • Leslie Horne
  • Jenny James
  • Colleen Ireland
  • JoAnn Dunbar
If you click HERE  and scroll down a little, you can read some of the trip reports and stories that our staff members have brought back from North Korea.

Additionally, we have attempted to address other misperceptions in times gone by here.  Finally, if you have concerns and wish to speak to Eugene Bell, they are very transparent about the work they do and always happy to answer questions.  You can contact Ms Carpenter and she would be happy to put you in direct contact with an EB rep.

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