Everyone who works in this space recognises that education is the way to escape generational cycles of poverty. If we are able to invest in a child from the age of 3 to 18 then by the time the child reaches the age of 18 they see themselves and the world around them differently.
Children, however, live in a context and it is important to work with the wider family to empower them to provide as much as they can for their children and themselves.
A family that struggles each day to provide food for its children can struggle to find a vision for their lives which begins to be defined by what is not possible, rather than by what is possible.
Helping families understand and access the services that are available to them and to recognise the resources they have around them and then teaching them skills and lending the tools they need to utilise those resources helps a family begin to provide for themselves.
Encouraging families to find vision and then standing with them as they begin to move into it is one of the most exciting parts of the work we do.
Empowerment takes many forms. In the column on the right, you will see some examples of programs that we offer.
Gardening & Green Houses
Families living in rural communities often have access to large gardens, which is a fabulous resource. But if you have not eaten properly for many years then you may genuinely not have the energy to dig it over by hand. Even if you have the energy, if you cannot afford bread, you may not own a spade.…..and neither does your neighbour. Even if you had a spade, then you may not have money to buy the seed and if you have the seed then you may not have a well. Even if you have a well then may not have a water pump or a hose for irrigation….. and the vision of a garden producing vegetables seems far away. We plough and disk gardens and can provide the seed in the spring.
Not all of the places that we work are fortunate enough to have gardens, but when they do, then without a water supply it is impossible for people to raise vegetables that would provide food for the family. We can help a family to drill a small well to provide water for laundry and irrigation. We can also help a family to buy a water pump and hose to irrigate the garden.
Mud homes deteriorate quickly if not properly maintained, the mud bricks become soft and begin to disintegrate in the rain which can lead to collapsing walls and roofs. When you don’t have money to buy bread or basic foods or firewood, when your child doesn’t have shoes, when one of your children is sick and needs medication (which is not cheap)., repairing your home, fixing the leaking roof, re-plastering the exterior walls of your tiny mud house can seem just not so important. We can provide help to a family wanting to carry out urgent repairs.
Some people do not have legal identity papers, making it impossible for them to access social benefits or get a job. Even when people do have the necessary papers they are not always aware of their legal rights to benefits, support and services available from the state. Our social workers help families resolve legal documents and explain and help families access rights and services. This is a really important first step. Encouraging families to register with a family doctor, obtain child benefits and social benefits, etc.