Flexiway Solar Lamp Project in a Rural Nursing Home in China

Huangjing Nursing Home is a rural nursing facility in the Hubei province in China that was a formally an abandoned school. There were more than 50 aging people living there when ...

Expanding Our Capacities

FWOP promotes a concept of community development and renewal via Four E's: Education, Empowerment, Enterprise, and the Environment. Each article seeks to show how we bring them together. In the USA, ...

Affiliates on the Move for 2017: First Quarter Update!

Get ready for another opportunity to attend FWOP's meeting of the minds at our summit in  Costa Rica at CATIE October 4th - 6th If you'd like to present what your organization is ...

Because everybody deserves a future without poverty. FWOP is a 501 (c) 3 non- profit tax exempt organization.

Posted by Miguel Juanez On January - 18 - 2018 0 Comment

Huangjing Nursing Home is a rural nursing facility in the Hubei province in China that was a formally an abandoned school. There were more than 50 aging people living there when it operated at its peak. However, we recently learned that some of them could no longer afford the fee of $40 per person per month.

Xinmei Ye is the manager of this nursing home. She asked her husband and mother help her run the facility.  Consequently, managing business operations is difficult for them because there are only 28 seniors living there now.

Enter the Solar Lamp Project of FWOP.

Lamps provided through Flexiway Solar have helped children in Indonesia, Africa and Costa Rica.

So Dr. Li, a UNT professor and FWOP supporter, and her husband bought solar lamps for residents in this rural nursing home of China. Solar lamps were considered a novelty for residents in this nursing home and they were curious to learn how they worked. The lamps helped residents because the facility experiences power failure periodically. The seniors can use solar lamp to go to the restroom at night, read during evening hours, or simply enjoy the comfort of portable light.  Being solar, they are convenient and avoid buying expensive batteries.

We hope to continue sharing these Flexiway Solar Lamps with more communities that can benefit. To support these efforts or buy your own, visit http://www.flexiwaysolar.com/products/solar-muscle-flex.

Posted by Miguel Juanez On December - 5 - 2017 0 Comment

We at FWOP are building solid and important partnerships between AWOW, Rotary International, CATIE Institute, and Southwest Airlines. This past October, FWOP held a Summit at CATIE in Costa Rica and a video was created which can be viewed on FWOP’s You Tube channel.

Recently, the NT Daily of the University of North Texas wrote an excellent article on the summit. You can read it here: http://ntdaily.com/unt-future-without-poverty-members-learn-about-ecotourism-at-world-summit-in-costa-rica/

The FWOP delegation was being trained in the town of Mollejones to be folkloric dancers


The pictures  was taken on our visit to Mollejones Community where CATIE assists locals in establishing viable rural sustainable tourism and connect them to a growing registry of important cultural sites. Our students and volunteers were asked to join into the spirit of the event. The picture was taken after a successful “interpretation” of a folkloric dance with the local children that erupted in laughter and smiles from everyone.

Picking peppers as part of the sustainable gardening in Mollejones

It was a long time in the making but this family finally secured the funding to build a greenhouse through cultural tourism backed funding.

Cultural tourism is where you visit a community with a goal of learning about the people.


They loved having us, and we loved visiting.

AWOW and the Lewisville Rotary Morning Club in Texas ( with FWOP and SWA support) created a pre-summit  and  a Dental out-reach project in Barrio in San Jose. The focus was preventive dentistry.

As a result of the Summit,  a Technology Training Center was established at the Sustainable House on the grounds of CATIE ,  a plan to secure funding for expanding the existing rural sustainable tourism network that consists now of four communities and finally, initial plans were made for the next Summit to be held in Nashville, Tennessee.   Various field schools from various universities and high schools are planned to go to CATIE to reinforce our initial steps to reduce poverty and expand sustainable business development.

The picture above shows a small air monitoring device developed by UNT and it is being powered by the Solar Shelter Kit system. I will be on display into the Technology Training Center.

At the Summit FWOP formally announced a new initiative – BUY ART FIGHT POVERTY — to assist artists and raise funds to support  to expand initiatives related to solar lamps for education, clean stoves to reduce pollution, and clean water across the global.   Take  a look at www.buyartfightpoverty.org and send us artists of all ages to the website.

FWOP Nashville had visit from film team recently from Southwest Airlines . Focus was the upcycling of used leather from the seats changed out for airplanes. Veteran jobs are being created in Nashville and St Louis. Some leather has been integrated into activity programs in assisted living facilities.  The FWOP and afflitiates have managed to clean out tons leather used seats from the SWA warehouse in Dallas.

Here, the team discusses viable options for FWOP and how we can take our organization and partnerships to the next stage.

On the final morning we met to map our plans for Costa Rica , Nashville and beyond. More information to come.

Posted by Miguel Juanez On June - 19 - 2017 0 Comment

Ten years ago, Hans Rosling gave this very interesting TED Talk on poverty statistics.  It focuses on fertility changes, family size, economic changes, longevity, rich/poor gap, and poverty reduction across our planet. Topics all of us here at FWOP are passionate about solving.

The Hans Rosling presentation showed decline in extreme world poverty 10 years ago as did recent piece in the Economist on April 1st, 2017. As an appeal to our fascination with youtube, we recommend you check it out as it does a good job of showing the gap between rich and poor in various countries. By exploring various forms of capitalist and socialist economic systems, some with varying levels of democratic political controls,  can all claim some credit for the progress.

The Economist article reflects the notion that it is “possible to imagine a future in which the global poverty rate continues to drop even as poverty becomes more entrenched in a few unlucky counties”.

One of our coalition of affiliates, Dallas Designing Dreams, is contributing to the notion by staying focused on micro strategies to reduce poverty. Take a look.

Dallas Designing Dreams              https://www.custommade.com/by/wwwdallasdesigningdreamsorg/  is a new affiliate in Dallas that provides FWOP with new capacity to assist.


Dallas Designing Dreams provide a model for all our affiliates to expand the number of entrepreneurs, artists and craft persons in this world. Some will develop micro businesses, others may develop large businesses, BUT the goal is the same.


Posted by Miguel Juanez On April - 9 - 2017 0 Comment

FWOP promotes a concept of community development and renewal via Four E’s: Education, Empowerment, Enterprise, and the Environment. Each article seeks to show how we bring them together.

In the USA, a new book attempts to diagnosis the socio-economic challenges men and also women face. The problem areas the book describes mirror places where FWOP is actively working to have a positive impact. Take for example Denton, Texas with its large homeless population of adults and young students, St. Louis with efforts to serve homeless and low income veterans, and in Ripley, Ohio with high number of suicides, overdoses linked to heroin addiction, and lack for employment. FWOP projects make an effort to improve life at the margins.

The book in question, “In Men Without Work” (Templeton Press, Sep 19, 2016), Nicholas Eberstadt, a political economist who holds the Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy at the American Enterprise Institute, contends that

“There is a huge population of men—one-sixth of all prime-aged men in America—that is not only without jobs, but has stopped looking for jobs altogether. All of this amounts to a hidden time bomb with far-reaching economic, social, and political consequences.

The stock market continues to set new records. Unemployment continues to go down. The United States is now at or considered to be at or near “full employment”, at least according to received wisdom. But, a closer look at economic data by Nicholas Eberstadt reveals something else entirely. While “unemployment” has gone down, the work participation rate—and especially the male work rate—has been relentlessly declining for most of the post-war era and is now reaching a crisis with depression-era levels.”

Therefore, it was no surprise to those who have seen this data that the lack of jobs, soaring income inequality and underemployment faced by the working class were decisive issues. To that effect, we have updates that reflect our understanding of these matters and how we are making a difference.

Nashville, Tennessee

FWOP in partnership with Anthem USA  has recently asked to bring back an assisted living facility that was once in trouble. In two months, wall repairs, painting, fire alarm system updates, kitchen equipment updates, roof repairs and HVAC updates have moved forward in the new facility, renamed as Knowles Home Assisted Living.  This has been accomplished with the help of the City of Nashville, Metro Drug Court System and Tennessee State University. The land has been tilled for a large garden, chairs and tables worth $25,000 have been donated by the Tennessee Titans, men from a drug rehab correctional facility arrived to prepare the garden and clean up the grounds. The City of Nashville opened up its warehouse of slightly used equipment, donating them to Knowles Home.

Nacogdoches, Texas

Marie Coulibay, President of the Ivory Coast FWOP , visited Stephen F. Austin State University and met with Dr. Ann Wilder, Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work and her Macro Community Development Class. Marie was able to share her work and explain her plan for the Ivory Coast. This presentation inspired these graduate Social Work students to step up and create an FWOP affiliate student chapter in Nacogdoches. Students involved are planning to work together to determine the goal and direction for the new student group. Initial ideas include supporting Marie’s work in the Ivory Coast, starting an affiliate group in Haiti and creating links to areas of Western Louisiana that have been devastated by flood. Pictured here from left to right are: Raina Caldwell, Farrah Alvarez, Maria Caulibilly, D’nez Bob, Holly North, Kaylee McVee, Patricia Moore, Ryan Hernandez, Angela Davis, Trinity George, Berengere Ross, Lori Murphee, Deeanna Chance and Kristina Irwin.

Since this meeting, the students have decided to create a FWOP student chapter at Stephen F. Austin.  Dr. Stan Ingman from FWOP Board did one orientation session on skype.  Some students plan to attend the Summit in Costa Rica in October .

UNT FWOP Student Chapter in Denton, Texas

Our chapter at UNT has three major goals this spring:

  1. Fund rise for water project in Nigeria in partnership with a local affiliate, Exquisite Water http://www.exquisitewater.org/ this Spring
  2. Sponsor and screen the showing of  Poverty Inc on March 22nd on campus.
  3. Sponsored a seminar on climate change and poverty March 29th in partnership with Climate Change Coalition and UNT Rotaract.

    Officers and members with their advisor and FWOP board member, Dr. Stan Ingman (left).

Stay tuned for updates and be sure to follow UNT FWOP’s facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/untfwop/



Chapala, Mexico

Corazon de Tierra, UNT FWOP and FWOP, Inc. teamed up to put in clean stoves in a local barrio.

The big news on this project is potential for sustainability. Creation of a local business may help replace old polluting systems of cooking slowly with new modern stoves  in the barrio of Tepehua.

Recently, the process of  installing stoves have allowed a local man to create a small business that replaces stoves at a lower cost. Thus, improving the health of children and adultsas well as improving local economic status of person in the communityhave come together!

FWOP Board Members were recently contacted by a medical group in Texas who knew about the great health care clinics at the Tepehua Centro, and offered us some free medical supplies and equipment. Once again showing how individuals in Texas look out for global health. Donations are planned to be sent south to Mexico in an expedited manner.


Posted by Miguel Juanez On March - 17 - 2017 0 Comment

Have you ever wondered what initiatives have set Denton apart and on a path towards sustainable living?

In the 1990’s the University of North Texas’s Center for Public Service formed partnerships with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Housing and the Department of Urban Development (HUD) to organized a series of conferences. One in particular was called,  “An Aging Planet, An Aging Population, and A Sustainable Future” and was held at UNT and even in Guadalajara, Mexico.

In the early 2000’s, a committee on green building issues was created by three faculty members. The committee invited Dan Fette, a green builder, and Jane Provo, CEO of Denton Affordable Housing to join the committee. As a result of their teamwork, Dan and Jane designed the award-winning Nevada Court “green” housing community in Denton.

Eight homes were built. The monthly energy bill of each house was guaranteed not to exceed $60. Water bills were reduced thanks to water harvesting for all outdoor watering. This showed how lowering energy and water costs were practical ways to reduce poverty among low income families.

Fast forward ten years later, some faculty pushed UNT administration to go green and secure LEED certification on all new construction. Click here to watch a watch a summary of this history.  Unfortunately, UNT has a long way to go to become a national or an international leader in sustainability education and research.

However, the City of Denton is moving toward a more sustainable future. By 2020, the City of Denton will move to have 70% of its electricity derived from renewable sources.

Zero Energy Housing

Dan Fette, a green builder in Denton Texas (https://www.facebook.com/danfettebuildersinc/), has teamed up with the Siti & Jido Park Foundation to create a home for five disabled individuals and one caregiver near the University of North Texas. Each person has their own bedroom with a shared bathroom. They intend to have the home certified under the US Department of Energy’s “Zero Energy Ready Home Program”.


What is the process to become designated as Zero Energy? First, use every practical means to reduce the energy demand for the house, then meet that reduced demand through renewable sources—in this case, it is using sunshine making electricity by means of photovoltaic panels mounted on the roof.

How have they accomplished the goal?

  • Air-tight construction
  • Extra insulation in walls and ceilings
  • A/C ducting running inside air conditioned space
  • high performance windows shaded with deep roof overhangs
  • radiant barrier roof decking,
  • Energy Star rated appliances
  • LED lighting

In addition, a two-duct heat pump water heaters will draw heat from the air, and augment the air conditioning system in summer months. Because of the various energy efficiency strategies, the 3200 square foot house will readily suffice with a 3 ton heat pump.

An 8 kilowatt array of solar panels will produce most of the electricity needed for the reduced load. The facility will remain grid-tied for the rest.  The city of Denton offers an incentive for installing solar panels—Denton Municipal Electric (DME) helps you pay for them. The foundation is in line to receive a rebate of 75 cents / watt to defray the cost of the solar panels.

Denton Businesses Going Green

The Retina Institute of Texas in Denton installed a 10.14 KW solar system on their roof. The DME Green Sense Solar Rebate program make the pay back much faster than in many other cities in Texas. As one physician at the Retina Institute said, “Denton is more supportive of such efforts than Arlington and Dallas”. Some 75% of the Institute’s electricity needs are covered by the solar panels.  In two years over $13,000 has been saved. SWG Energy Inc. installed the system. Driving around Denton you can see numerous businesses with solar panels.  Over time each system will reduce Denton’s reliance on non-renewable sources of energy.

It would be good for our universities and major corporations in Denton to join the drive toward a 100% renewable energy city. Two reasons why some businesses move to Denton is the low cost of electricity and the high proportional of renewable energy according to officials at DME.

We hope this trend continues.

Posted by Miguel Juanez On February - 28 - 2017 0 Comment

Get ready for another opportunity to attend FWOP’s meeting of the minds at our summit in  Costa Rica at CATIE October 4th – 6th

If you’d like to present what your organization is doing to fight poverty, please email Dr. Stan Ingman here with details about your presentation. Drop us a note of your ideas. More detail coming soon on our FWOP Facebook

Arbor Health, St Louis

Arbor Health had a visit from the Priory of St. Louis Veterans Group, who prepared a holiday meal for the residents of Arbor Health. The Arbor Health Foundation, a non-profit, has moved its assets to new organization, entitled Arise Veteran Foundation, so that their work can expand to encompass the broader community of veterans

Recently, FWOP started working with Southwest Airlines to recycle leather seats.  This partnership has helped to create new employment options and craft projects for the residents of Arbor Health. Always Green Recycling based in St. Louis has stepped up to join FWOP to employ residents of Arbor Health (http://www.recyclingcenterstlouis.com/). Three veterans are being trained to be locksmiths (http://www.locksmithofstlouis.com/) and one resident now has a new position as a locksmith.

Zach (MA -Chicago Art Institute) is assisting veterans at Arbor Health to do art work and Yameng (UNT-MS in Applied Gerontology) is expanding menu options and assisting with management. Zach is helping veterans create various products from the used Southwest Airline leather.

In the picture to the right, Zach and his veteran clients at Arbor Health Fund held their first art exhibit.  The leaded and beveled windows that were donated (recycled glass) to the facility and turned into painted stain glass creations.


AWOWNOW has a school for girls in northeast Ghana. The girls are producing many items such as shoes, bags, dresses, etc. to be sold sustainably in markets. To learn more about this initiative, visit www.awownow.org

Posted by Miguel Juanez On February - 10 - 2017 0 Comment

In the Fall of 2016, the UNT student chapter of FWOP (untfwop.org) — under the leadership of Heliana Onomo — raised funds on campus for the Orphanage in Yaounde. They had four main objectives that reflect FWOP’s 4 Es: Enterprise, Environment, Education, and Empowerment. These provide a framework for establishing projects and partnership around the world.

The FACT Foundation was established in the orphanage in 1987 under the leadership of Mrs. Ngo Mawege Celine Marthe. The UNTFWOP student team, with a focus on education, promoted three basic strategies: first, lessons on empowering teachers and students with worksheets on “All About Me” and “Super Girl” coloring pages, which they designed. Second, lessons on business practices (enterprise) and actual students created items for sale, e.g., bracelets, wood tables. Third, they developed environment-oriented lessons, which have major targets — the individual and the community. They focused lessons on hygiene, disease prevention, and physical exercise as well as recycling and trash reduction.

The non-profit organization — Comeover 2 — implemented the program at the orphanage.

Posted by Miguel Juanez On October - 27 - 2016 0 Comment

Southwest Airlines and FWOP Cooperate : Recycling to expand human development

Thanks to Southwest Airlines, our first effort is focused on recycling the old leather seats of airplanes. Some dozen sites in Texas, Missouri and Virginia are exploring how the discarded leather can be used  and “upcycled”, that is, create new uses for the leather.

A middle school in Dallas, the Advanced Technical Center in Denton, the UNT Fiber Collective, an arts program in Dallas, a private women’s bag company in Dallas, a 4 H Center in Virginia, and finally, Arbor Health rehabilitation with many veterans in St. Louis have so far agreed to cooperate.

Arbor Health with its strong art therapy focus and the garden program in partnership with Home Depot and Monsanto has been working with glass, murals, leather and metal to create products designed  by veterans and others. Printing 4 Vets is  a small business created to provide some jobs for residents at Arbor Health.  Recently the residents  started  to create wallets out of leather. As you can imagine, they were very excited to receive used leather from Southwest Airlines.

A retired Marine has joined Arbor Health team to expand the initial initiative. He is the founder of Always Green Recycling whose goal is to hire residents, help them gain independence, and hold down a job.  He has agreed to store the leather seats and recycle the foam and other bi-products from the seats — approximately 26 pallets of leather– once they are shipped to St. Louis later this month (October).

Always Green

Their plan is to break the seats down into workable pieces, then distribute them to other FWOP affiliates,  keeping  some for their artwork,  and using some for re-purposed leather goods that can be sold.

Posted by Miguel Juanez On September - 29 - 2016 0 Comment

Frisco, Texas —   FWOP Associate and RecruiterGreat job, Mr. Marsh! , John Marsh works at McDonald’s recruits FWOP affiliates and members in Texas and in our region. He recently received an Award for his outstanding work at McDonald’s in Frisco. Mr. Marsh is considered a role model for his focus on quality, service and cleanliness, the company noted in a news release. “John works the drive-thru and has a smile and a kind word for everyone.”

Great job! John, thank you for doing such an excellent service in representing FWOP and McDonald’s well. Keep it up!

Uganda FWOP

Some four years ago four solar lamps were overview-of-fwop-network-1distributed to four single mothers or grandmothers with children to open the door to Uganda. In 2014, Ishmaels Kabann Kahanaukye, founder of Uganda FWOP Chapter,  distributed 40 solar lamps in western Uganda  to senior citizens. Recently 400 solar lamps were distributed by FWOP Uganda. Picture below shows how difficult it was to visit the remote villages in western Uganda near the Rwanda and Tanzania border.

Here is the Presidentoverview-of-fwop-network-3 of Uganda FWOP (Ishmaels Kabann Kabanaukye) wearing a blue jacket. He was providing an explanation of how the lamps operate, how students can save money, energy, how they be able to do their homework, and how they do less harm to the planet by avoiding kerosene, a bio-carbon source of energy.

Jakarta , Indonesia

In Jakarta, XSProject, with support from the UNT FWOP affiliateoverview-of-fwop-network-4distributed  21 portable solar lamps to the middle and high school students living at the Cirendeu trash picker community. XSProject is  currently raising funds for a second order of 55 more solar lamps to distribute to the elementary school students. The students not only use their lamps for studying, but also for safety when they are walking home in the dark.  If you would like to donate to this project you can do so by clicking here

Posted by Miguel Juanez On August - 19 - 2016 0 Comment

Global warming has raised global sea level about 8 inches since 1880, and the rate of rise is accelerating. Rising seas dramatically increase the odds of damaging floods from storm surges. A Climate Central analysis finds the odds of “100-year” or worse floods occurring by 2030 are on track to double or more, over widespread areas of the U.S.

Across the country, nearly 5 million people live in 2.6 million homes at less than 4 feet above high tide — a level lower than the century flood line for most locations analyzed. And compounding this risk, scientists expect roughly 2 to 7 more feet of sea level rise this century — a lot depending upon how much more heat-trapping pollution humanity puts into the sky.

Miami and St. Petersburg, Florida, New York City, various Islands across the worlds oceans, Holland, Bangladesh and many other places are seriously considering what should be their strategies to adjust to rising seas. All the while, debates between scientists and climate deniers continues in the background [source].

On a personal note, in 1963, I was a volunteer (one month training in engineering with degrees in botany and rural sociology) with the International Voluntary Service. I entered in a partnership with USAID, Social Conservation Service and the Algerian Forestry Service.

The newly formed government challenged my team and I to stop the Sahara Desert from moving farther north, that is, stop the desertification of northern Algeria. As a 26 year old at the time, an optimist, I thought about the request and wondered what steps could be initiated to stop the desertification process from the base in Tlemcen, Algeria. We planted some 30 thousand trees with 3000 Algerian refugees from the civil war per year. Unfortunately, because of the military takeover of the government, the project lasted only 3 years.

Slowing down climate change by moving to a non-carbon economy would appear to be necessary. It does seem adjusting to forced relocation of coastal populations around the world will need to be addressed, regardless. Recently the Financial Times reported that in the last five years, renewable energy use has jumped 70%, a good shift away from fossil fuels. (August 14, 2016). Some good news, but fossil fuels still dominate the energy sector.

Let us focus on Louisiana and the struggles of the Biloxi Chitimacha Choctaw band.

Plenty International is working with Biloxi Chitimacha Choctaw band. As the Gulf of Mexico is rising, the water is slowly eroding the coastal land. See snapshot from Rebecca Ferris’s documentary “Can’t Stop the Water” below.

Sea Level Rising

They have also been involved in the BP oil disaster which happened in the waters where the Choctaw live and fish. They were also exposed to millions of gallons of high levels of toxic dispersants that were sprayed to sink the oil.

Plenty International has been working with this tribe since Hurricane’s Katrina and Rita in 2005.

Rebecca Ferris’s documentary “Can’t Stop the Water”, a 30-minute film, does an excellent job telling the story of the Island Tribe and all that they are up against with the rising waters and exposure to hurricanes. The film can be purchased for $4.99 as a one-time rental or for $10.99 to buy as a download for continuous watching. Click here to visit the website for more information.

climatechange-post-3 climatechange-post-2 climatechange-post-4

Isle de Jean Charles is one Island that is sinking quickly and the people  on the island have been granted federal funding to move inland to higher ground.

Pointe-Aux-Chenes is on a peninsula experiencing flooding also and is stable at the moment but eventually will have to confront similar issues as the water continues to rise.

Two other locations to review the impact of climate change are the Chesapeake Bay, where islands have vanished due to rising sea levels and where other are being reduced in size. [Source]

The other location is the coast of Florida, where anti-climate change ideology is dominating the legislature in Florida. As a result, many Mayors of Florida’s coastal cities do not find much support for discussions on how the state can assist them. However, the shift from anti-climate change to climate change positions undertaken by costal Mayors indicates the seriousness of the matter.

All of this goes back to the title of the post. Are we experiencing an ecocide?

Jared Diamond (2005) in his book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail and Succeed, points to many reasons why societies decline and die historically, not all by “ecocide”. He writes about five major factors:

  1. climate change
  2. hostile neighbors
  3. collapse of friendly trade partners
  4. environmental damage
  5. society’s response to its environmental problems.

Climate change may or may not be slowed down.

Are the US and the world going to respond with wise choices and action? Or not?

Perhaps in some small way, the FWOP network can support Plenty International as it assists the Biloxi Chitimacha Choctaw band on the Southern Louisiana Coast adjust to relocation and climate change. The time is now.


Stan Ingman, PhD. University of North Texas