Thursday, February 03, 2011

If it takes so little to help, why is it taking so long for some?

     I've long ago realized how relatively small my husband's ministry and my impact is in the tumult of  need here in Haiti.  But what I can't figure out is if we can do a lot with relatively little, why is it that many big NGO's are so slow to be able to accomplish much?  Just this week in the Haitian newspapers I continue to see well known organizations just now hiring staff to start their projects or to do research to justify needs for a project.    If I observe them too much, I get disgusted.    But, I'm seeing again the high impact that is possible in individual lives with a narrow focus empowered by skilled, local leadership.
    This week, I was asked to document a simple micro-credit project.   The ministry had received several dozen large igloos (the kind North Americans use for tailback parties).  Caleb thought up a plan where we could give the igloos to some folks in need, along with a loan of $300 HD (around $40 US).  The idea being that they could use the start up costs to stock cold drinks and other items they could then resell.  The group was asked to repay at $25 HD each month until they repaid the full amount in a year.  Most of the recipients have already repaid their loans ahead of schedule so we could start with another group this month:
It's such a small thing really, but is able to provide these women and their families with some much needed income.  This isn't the first time we've done projects like this, just the most recent.
      Another example of small cost but high impact outreach:   Last fall, we had several students on a waiting list who were needing help to attend our ministry school.  Even the small amount that we must charge students in tuition was beyond the ability of their families.  This week we  have a team here from Pekin, IL (yes, they escaped the terrible Midwest blizzard).  While working on refurbishing office space at the school facility, one of the gentlemen, Dustin, decided he'd really like to help a student here.  We were able to introduce him to 7 year old Mike (see below):
     Dustin asked to be able to meet Mike's parents as well so we asked them to come in this morning.  I had the privilege of translating for them as he got to meet Mike's mother and hear their story which helped explain her still shell shocked facial expression.  Mike and his family were in the capital last January and in the middle of the earthquake.  When their home was destroyed as well as his mom's place of work, the mother decided to come back to her hometown where she had some family. I asked her if she had stayed at the camp facility last year and she told me she had considered it, but decided to leave places for those people who didn't have any support at all.  I found her humility and willingness to make room for those in greater need really touching.   As we parted today, I told her I hoped she saw that it wasn't the blan (foreigners) who were helping her, but that this provision came ultimately from God whom she could trust for the future.  It isn't easy to go on when you've lost everything like Mike and his family, but when you see the Lord's hand through the help and generosity of others, it does give hope.  
I want to encourage those who are in a position to give, to continue to do so.  Please check with the organizations you are giving to, and ask them if the funds you are sending are reaching those in need and how they are helping now.   It really doesn't take much to help.  

1 comment:

tiffany said...

I have read about these micro-credit projects before. If you do it again, let us know.