Over the last 5 decades $2.3 trillion of aid has been poured into the developing world, yet more people live on less than $2 a day now than fifty years ago. Hmm… Something seems a little backward here.
While still in university my friends and I set out on a journey to understand why this was the case. In 2006 while volunteering at an orphanage in Uganda, Stewart met an old man named Franklin. Franklin was a leader of an Internal Displacement Camp on the outskirts of Lira, Uganda. After sharing some tea and conversation Stewart asked what he thought that we, a group of long-haired, ragged-looking college kids, could do to help. What Franklin told us was all too simple, “We want to work. We are relying on humanitarian aid like a baby relies on mother’s milk. I want to work so that I can provide for my own family.”
It’s a tragic metaphor when you think about it. Here’s one of the most resilient men in the world, having survived 25 years of rebel warfare in his backyard, and yet he likens himself and the people he’s entrusted to care for to babies. They are dependent upon others for their every need.
Franklin isn’t alone in this sentiment. Across the globe people are fed up with the damage that handouts are causing. They are tired of being dependent on organizations for food, water, clothing, education and occasionally, if the situation is bad enough, all of the above. They are ready to rebuild their productive capacities, invest into their futures and again take control of their lives.
In 2007 we created Krochet Kids intl. to partner with the poor and accomplish our mission statement: “to empower people to rise above poverty”. We designed a unique model that equips women with the assets, skills, and knowledge to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. With this investment into true empowerment we are breaking the cycle of poverty and, subsequently, the dependence on humanitarian aid. The result is long lasting and sustainable change that is being facilitated by the previously poor of the world.
The results are proof that the process is working. Compared to the national savings statistics, our beneficiaries are saving more than double the national average. They are creating and running some of the largest village banks in their country. They are leaders in malaria prevention practices and are making revolutionary steps towards raising a healthier and more educated generation.
In the following blog posts I’ll be explaining why the women we work with are changing their lives in such radical ways. We believe this is the case because they are supported by an incredible job opportunity, consistent mentoring on relevant topics and real-time monitoring and evaluation that provides us with verifiable indicators of our collective successes and failures.
- Adam Thomson, Intl. Programs Director