Rachel Jenae

Sustainability, 10 Years and Going

Ok, I’m trying to get back on these Friday Follows!  I’ve been out of town the last several weekends and kind of fallen behind, but here’s to getting back on the ball!

I’ve had the privilege of meeting some incredible organizations over the last few weeks that I’ll be sharing a little about soon.  There are millions out there that are doing great things, but I will try to stick to just posting about those I learn about personally and that I believe are building organizations of deep character and sustainability.

Sustainability.  What does it mean?  I had a great conversation this past weekend with a guy about this word.  What does it look like? Why is it important?  I’ve mentioned it before, but quite simply going into a country and meeting someone’s immediate needs is really nice and often very needed, but completely un-enabling for the culture.  “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime”. If you can somehow empower others and teach them how to fish for themselves, you’ve sustained them past a meal and hopefully past their own generation. Looking beyond the surface to the root cause of poverty.  The root cause of disease.  The root cause of war. Not coming in with our American “quick-fix” solution to feel good about ourselves in helping and act like we know it all, but really understanding the culture and getting a long-term vision for long-term solutions. Investing in people, not problems.

With all that said, here’s an organization that knows what they’re doing.  Based in Rwanda, Africa the founder, Charles Mugisha Buregeya, and a group of others, began by choosing 29 children to sponsor. They took the needs over to the U.S. in 2002 and got them fully sponsored.  They then began a nursery school, soon followed by a christian academy, a church, a transitional home for street boys, a feeding program, a women’s spiritual and vocational training center, children’s home for orphans, and the list goes on and on into this past year when they started an Evangelical School of Theology. Did I say they know what they’re doing? They have sponsored more than 2,000 children and feed more than 1,000 a day.  They are Africa New Life and TODAY is their 10 year Anniversary! 

The organization I work with,  Hello Somebody (you may remember them from here), has been partnering with Africa New Life over the last couple months to help sponsor their 100 Street Boys.  There are thousands of street boys in Rwanda who go to the dumps every day to search for food.  Every year they choose 100 boys to enter a vocational training school.  After completing the one year program, the younger boys can enter the sponsorship program, while the older boys have been given a trade to get a job.  I’ve been given the opportunity to go to Rwanda this December with them and see, in person, what is really going on. It’s one thing to talk about an organization from an American perspective and try to aid in the marketing of their efforts, but it’s another completely to go and be a part of it in person. This will be a vision trip for other partnerships down the road, as well as furthering our relationship with Africa New Life and the boys we are impacting today. I can’t tell you how beyond excited I am to say, I’M GOING! More to come on this next week!

Now for a glimpse into Africa New Life and some of the Street Boys we’re helping to sponsor. (beware of their adorable cuteness factor!) If you do not sponsor a child, I highly encourage you to do so! Whether just one for yourself or one for each of your children, so that they get to be a part of the journey as well, you’ll be investing in the life of a child that will change the course of his/her life forever!