Poverty is a far deeper issue than a lack of physical necessities. It is the profound sense of perceived helplessness in the physical, social, emotional, and spiritual relationship a person has with their environment. For this reason, truly helping someone out of poverty means changing the way they see themselves and the world around them.
I met Gina on the day she graduated from her Transform program, after four months of learning about values, health, and livelihood with over 20 other women from her community.When I arrived at her house Gina proudly showed me the certificate she received for all her hard work.
We walked a few meters from her front door to her garden full of eggplants. She is about to harvest her second batch since she learned how to plant seeds and fertilize them. Gina uses the crops to feed her family. Education has empowered her to make use of the land around her house. Gina excitedly told me about the business she was planning. As president of her savings group, she was collaborating with the other women who just completed Transform to develop a detergent-making business. This is a far more ambitious project than the simple model they learned in the program, but Gina is confident they can do it. The mayor of their town has offered to donate land and capital to help them get started, because their business would benefit the whole community.
Emotionally, these new opportunities offer both excitement and peace for Gina. She is more confident that she can take care of her family and now speaks more kindly to them. She is working on a list of 30 more people in her community that she can invite to the next Transform program. She has something of value to offer to her neighbors.
Gina shared with me she got to lead a song at her graduation. When I asked what it was, her sweet voice carried joyful words as she sang.|
I recognized the song and could sincerely join her:
Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks, because He’s given Jesus Christ, His son
And now, let the weak say I am strong
Let the poor say I am rich, because of what the Lord has done for us
By Staci Atkinson, ICM Intern