30 September 2015

It's So Much Better To Own Something Than Be Owned. The Launch Of A New Project.

In the last three months, as I have read and researched more and more about trafficking in persons, I have found proof of what I have suspected to be true: one of the largest factors of trafficking in persons--especially in the developing world--is poverty. A lack of means to provide for their families leads people to accept "too good to pass up" employment offers, often at the expense of freedom and dignity.

If only 2% of trafficking victims are ever rescued (and 80% of those rescued will go on to be trafficked again), if a true count of victims is unknown (and seemingly unknowable) because the crime is so well-hidden, then the most promising solution must be prevention.

And so, as I've shared before, I'm working on a conference to help educate the local community; to give them the tools to identify and avoid trafficking situations.

But I'm not stopping there! 

With a stable source of income, families and their children will never need to search for employment in places that may take advantage of them. And so, I am launching a program to provide business opportunities to local families. I believe it's better to own something than be owned by someone.

We have chosen four families of various size, location, and skill--several families of students from Precious Kids Center School--all families we know and trust--to be our test-pilots.

We've also identified SO MANY MORE families who will benefit from this program. (And know that there are so many more we have yet to meet!) Just think: for $30 (a one-time gift of $30!) we can alter the trajectory of a family's life!

Each of these families are given the choice of three business options: chicken, seeds, or a shop. They have been given the starting block for their business under one condition: they are to return a small portion of their earnings to the program to go toward helping jump-start another family's business.

Let's meet these families, shall we?!

Mama and Baba Boniface (Steve and Jenny) // seeds
Steve and Jenny were the first stop on our tour. And, my, was it beneficial! They have three boys, the oldest, Boniface, attends Precious Kids Center School for an education suited to his needs. These two look-after a small piece of land for a local family, and with their knowledge of farming, will thrive with a small plot of their own. They gave us a tour of the grounds they keep and estimates on cost of seed, the length of time from planting to harvest, and an educated guess on how much profit various crops could yield daily, weekly, and monthly. To say it was the right first-stop would be an understatement.

We will set him up with the seeds for a few of the most popular-selling vegetables. Not only will he be able to grow these vegetables to both sell and feed his family, but he will also have the opportunity to teach a tangible skill to his sons. (He's also agreed to help train those who are interested, but not yet proficient in farming!)

Mama Rose // chicken

Mama Rose and her husband (not pictured) have four children, three boys and one girl. The oldest (Rose, seen here) and youngest (Collins) attend Precious Kids Center School to receive a specialized education suited to their developmental needs. The middle two boys attend local secondary schools. Her husband is a teacher, but due to a nation-wide teacher's strike, there has not been a paycheck in that house for about two months. With four sets of mouths to feed, school fees to pay, uniforms and supplies to purchase, not to mention all of the costs of keeping a home running, this family is in need of income that will help meet their financial needs without taking away from the physical and emotional needs of her children.

She's chosen to raise chickens. We will provide her with four hens and one rooster, a coop, and a small bag of feed. She can collect and sell eggs, (also using some to feed her family!) while also breeding additional chickens to sell. The first four will be returned to the program to help another family, but the rest are hers to keep or sell as she sees fit.

Mama Rispah // shop
Mama Rispah is a single mother of five daughters (several that I have known since I worked with Oasis of Hope.) Over the years, her children have returned home only to drop-off a grandchild before heading off again. Two of her grandsons, Chris and Steve, attend Precious Kids Center school.

Mama Rispah recently used a small amount of money to begin a shop outside of her home. She has a great location in her neighborhood--just around the corner from the local water source--so there is a lot of foot-traffic along her road. She was selling charcoal when we visited, so when we offered to purchase some other commonly-used items for this community, she made a short list: soap, laundry detergent, matches, salt, and tea.

When I visited a week after dropping off these items, she excitedly told me how well things were selling. She also mentioned that, with some of the profits she made last week, she was going to purchase a few other items to sell. We have agreed upon a small amount of money to be returned each week for the first month of this shop, once again, to go back to the project and begin a business for another family.

Allan, Paul, and Jackson // seeds
These three boys have been living alone for the last few years, scraping by to finish their education. This November, they will sit for the National Exam that marks the end of secondary school and, officially, enter adulthood. To give them a sustainable source of income as they make the leap from student to grown-up, we (with some much needed coaching from Baba Boniface) are going to set up a small (1-2 crop) farm.

They will be able to plant and tend to the crops while they finish school and, by the time school closes for the year, the crops should be fully grown and ready to eat and sell in local markets to pay for the items they will need to run their home while they await exam results and, potentially, begin University. Like the other families, we've agreed upon a small amount to be returned to the program each week for the first month of sales, in order to help launch a new business for another family.


Please be praying for these families. For wise business choices, for generous spirits as they give back to help additional families, for protection over the plants and animals. Pray that they would be surprised by the abundant blessings that come in the first few months of these businesses. Please also be praying that I would have wisdom as to the next guiding steps for these existing families (savings, business growth, etc.) and discernment going forward as we choose the next set of families to partner with.

If you are interested in being part of this new project--interested in giving $30 to change the life of a family--there are donation options on your right or you can email me: allihibb{at}gmail.com for more ways to give.


Julie Hibbard said...

WOW!! This is spectacular!! What a difference this will make in their lives! What a difference you have made in their lives!! I am so very proud of you...and praying for you and all of them--constantly!

emily said...

Amazing work, as we knew you would do! Loved reading this! Praying!

Anonymous said...

rock, paper, scissors...this is just simply great Allie...