Here is what we are seeing and how we are praying about moving forward:
We want discipleship to be the top priority in everything we do, but we also recognize that God cares deeply for our physical needs. Because of this, we would love to help impoverished women and village families rise out of extreme poverty while discipling them at the same time. We are hoping to do this using a self-sustained business model.
Poverty is widespread, and it can be almost impossible for an uneducated single mom to rise out of her situation because of the extremely high unemployment rate and the lack of capital to start a business.
In the villages farming is the main source of income. There is no irrigation and crops are completely dependent on good rains. If the rains are poor it leads to famine. Villages have almost no job or business opportunities.
Parents do not have enough money for food, medical care or school fees for their children.
While we started by sponsoring children, we feel it may be wiser to move forward by addressing the problem rather than the symptom. The problem is lack of work, the symptom is no money for school fees, medical care or food.
Our hope, Lord willing, is to provide parents an opportunity to earn money to start their own businesses and cover the cost of their children’s school fees and medical care.
Our current plan is to:
1. Teach parents how to make jewelry, leather shoes and other handmade items that can be sold in the States. As we teach them we will meet weekly for Bible study and also teach them good business or farming practices.
2. Buy the items from them at a fair price.
3. The first $100 they make will goes towards establishing them in the business of their choice or towards buying animals (like chickens, goats, cows etc.) for village families($100 goes a long way here). We will also buy additional crafts to supplement their income for up to a year, but will gradually buy less and less so that by the time the year is up they should be fully supporting themselves.
The profits from the sale of the jewelry in the US will go to support this program as well as the Saturday Bible program so that they are self-sustaining. We are also praying about the possibility of using extra profits to begin a program for street children.