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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving: “We have only used HOPE as a conduit”

We received this email from an individual who has chosen to give very generously over the years, and thought these words were worth sharing.

This person, together with his family, has been responsible for helping poor people transform entire villages into places where they can drink clean water, grow enough food, start businesses, and send their children to school.

We say all of this not to glorify the givers, who would not want us to do so, but to emphasize that they are people who know what they are talking about when they talk about the subject of giving. This friend writes:

“I can't help thinking about what you said about people donating to [HOPE International Development Agency] or to David McKenzie [ed. whether people think of their gifts as going to the charity itself or to the people like International President David McKenzie who might be exhorting donors to give]. 

Really thinking about it, that has never occurred to me.  We…have always thought that our donations went to the people of Cambodia, Ethiopia, the Philippines or whatever country that has a population of really poor people. 

We have only used [HOPE] as a conduit to get the funds to the country of our designation.  AND the only reason that we use [HOPE] in that way is because you and [HOPE] have set in place a mechanism to make sure that the funds reach their intended destination and attain their intended results.

Maybe it would be wise to let the people know that Hope is only a conduit to get funds to their intended destination and that none of the funds stay with [HOPE].”

We agree and we think this man has put it beautifully. If you can trust your charity to be a conduit rather than a final destination for your gifts, then you may be inspired to give more joyfully.

We are all tired of feeling like we are bankrolling charity executives. The ‘intended results’ are those transformed villages that these givers have stood alongside and given a push towards self-sufficiency. So we believe that the more power we can give to donors and to the poor, the less power that we, as the charitable ‘conduit’ will have. That’s just exactly as it should be.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Dominican Republic: ‘More Than Simple Housewives’

The mountains of San Jose de Ocoa, Dominican Republic, are home to some of the poorest families in the western hemisphere. Difficult terrain, poor growing conditions, recurring and destructive hurricanes, and a lack of economic opportunities mean that many families cannot access basic necessities. Most families eke out a living from small-scale farming, simply eating what they grow.

Through decades of experience, HOPE International Development Agency has learned that community-based greenhouses run by women’s associations can be a very effective means of increasing food production and incomes. Each greenhouse is constructed of a breathable fabric with no open-air windows, sides that extend into the earth, and a hygienic air-lock entry to prevent the introduction of diseases and pests. Families farming in greenhouses can produce significantly more food than families farming in traditional outdoor plots of land.

Since the beginning of 2012, HOPE International Development Agency has helped 40 women in 5 associations in San Jose de Ocoa maintain efficient greenhouses by reinstalling roofing and insect-proof meshing, improving soil quality, rebuilding soil beds, and improving irrigation systems. Seeds have also been distributed and families have participated in extensive training.

These activities have all helped families to grow food more efficiently and with a smaller chance of losing crops to pests or weather. For women like Josefa Emilia Castillo, who works with six other women in her group, the Asociacion des Mujeres Maria Trinidad Sanchez in the community of El Naranjal, this is making a significant difference:

“Now, we can be more than just simple housewives. With the greenhouse, we are able to obtain some economic benefits and knowledge in various aspects. In training, we have acquired much knowledge about the organization, division of labor, and technical assistance in managing the greenhouses with the identification of pests and diseases. 

We have established a small family business, providing to the family some economic benefits, among others. The family now gets better food, is healthier, and has more time available. Having a greenhouse has improved my family’s life in an agreeable way because now we have been able to acquire the resources of production. 

Food comes to us that was previously not available to us, was not in our reach. In this way, the greenhouse has improved our quality of life.”

What these women are doing with their greenhouses is inspiring to us. We’ve included these greenhouses in our annual gift catalogue if you want to make their success part of your holiday celebrations.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Gifts that bring hope to people who need it most

The most meaningful gift you can give this Christmas season is the gift of hope.

For the seven year-old child traumatized by the loss of her parents because of HIV/AIDS, your gift means safety, education, and all the care she will need to move beyond life on the streets of Addis Ababa.

For the mother in South Sudan who weeps because she knows the filthy pond water her children are forced to drink may very well take their lives, your gift of clean water means good health for her children and freedom from heartbreak.

For the children and young people in Cambodia destined to continue living a life of oppressive poverty because they lack an education, your gift of learning will be their way out of poverty.

For the parents in the Democratic Republic of Congo whose impoverished life is a recurring nightmare that began when they were children, your gift of training, tools, seeds, and other much needed help means their families can become self-sufficient and free from poverty.

No store-bought gift can compare to the hope and transformation a gift from this year’s catalogue can bring to a poor child or family in desperate need right now.

You can give as many gifts as you wish. You can even give gifts on behalf of loved ones, friends, or co-workers. We will send them a personal note, telling them about the gift and the giver.

See this year’s selection of life transforming gifts you can give.