There is a lot wrapped up in this word and its meaning most likely changes from one person to another. But we are here to set the record straight; to place significance and importance back on what we believe to be one of the most beautiful words to exist.
We set out 6 years ago on a journey to try and love people living in poverty to the fullest extent possible. We knew we didn't have all the answers but we were armed with the understanding that it would take more than our solitary actions, or even our charity, to create lasting impact. We added to our tool kit a mission statement - to empower people to rise above poverty
. We've been learning and understanding what this truly means ever since.
One of the main problems we experienced while spending time in the developing world was that often times people were stuck in a cycle of dependency. That is to say, sustained handouts (of food, water, clothing, etc.) over a long period of time only maintained the existing poverty and did little to combat it long-term. One definition of empowerment is to enable (or allow) and we saw a need for impoverished communities to be ENABLED to take care of themselves and to pursue their vision of what success meant to them.
Jobs, education and mentorship all followed in order for us to create an environment where women could provide for their families' needs and begin to plan for the future. They were empowered
for the first time to dream and plan for a future free from any form of assistance, and they are realizing those dreams.
This is what we believe empowerment to be. And this is one step toward changing our world one person and one community at a time.
Over the weeks and months ahead we will be unpacking this idea further. Please join us in reclaiming the importance of what impact really means.
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This is empowerment.