Lauren assists Droplets in a Stream with marketing and communications. In November, she joined us in Africa to meet and photograph the communities we support. This is her account of the people, challenges and triumphs.
What’s it really like to do charity work? It’s rewarding. It’s inspiring. But it’s also really hard. In terms of our cause, it’s hard to convey extreme poverty to people who haven’t experienced it or seen it with their own eyes. It’s hard to put the hunger and suffering into words. It’s hard to grab people’s attention on a small, scrolling screen.
The world is wary. People are stressed. There’s a litany of problems to solve. Poverty is one that often presents as insurmountable. Just too complex. Will donating a few dollars even make a difference?
If you look at the global crisis, you can’t be blamed for looking away with a sigh of defeat. But when you’re there, looking into the eyes of a child, you immediately want to help. You’re reminded of innocence. Of how little they have and how much is waiting for us at home. A wardrobe of clean clothes. Hot, soapy showers. Bottled water in the fridge. Cheeseburgers and fries delivered to our doors.
It’s in moments like these that we’re reminded of our privilege. We had an easier start in life. A start that came with a home, healthcare, school and opportunities. These little ones were born into poverty. They’ve inherited poverty problems but they are not ‘poverty problems.’ They’re people with feelings just like us. They deserve basic human rights just like us. And if no one offers to help them, they’ll stay trapped in poverty forever.
But can we really end poverty, everywhere, for good? It’s an excellent vision that many share and strive for. Our small charity can’t solve it on a global scale but that’s not a reason to give up.
So we zoom in. We help who we can, the best we can. In our fifteen years of experience, we’ve already seen hundreds of children come through extreme poverty and go on to achieve great things! These children are now investing their skills and expertise into their communities. Chains are broken, one link at a time. Communities are liberated one child at a time.
We’ve joyfully watched our community leaders sustain projects with passion and care. There’s the house ‘mama’ who cares for babies recovering from malnourishment… the principal who rises before dawn to welcome the kids into class… the nurse who comforts sick children at the clinic… the saplings that grew into shady palms for children to play under… the new road that makes it easier for produce to be delivered.
These people and projects are kindness in action. They make life easier, safer and better for their communities. Before we met these leaders, they were already trying to help as many as they could. They’re tenacious advocates for children with families and challenges of their own. Our people don’t want or expect us to do it all for them. They want us to help them do it for themselves.
That’s where we step in. That’s how we help. Using our skills, experience and resources, we invest into others. The act of helping just one child is in itself incredible. And we’ve been able to help hundreds in just a short space of time.
Poverty is like a pervasive vine that strangles the life out of a tree. It takes many people, working on different areas to loosen its grip. We’ve been able to extricate branches of life because others have joined us. They see the potential in children and invest in the process. Granted, it’s a slow one but we believe it’s the path to lasting change.
If you’re reading this, it most likely means you’ve taken an interest in our work at some point. Perhaps you participated in a fundraiser or attended a talk at church. You might be friends with one of our founders or the biking buddy of a board member. Maybe you clicked a link that a friend shared on Facebook.
You might have invested thousands of dollars or donated a few when it was affordable to do so. By simply reading our stories, you help to advance our cause.
Connection is the lifeblood of communities. And we want to nurture our connection with you. Whether you donated your time, money or expertise, we want to express our gratitude. All our work is made possible by people coming together.
As stewards of your funds and compassion, we promise to keep you updated on our progress. To be totally transparent about what we are doing, how we are doing it and who we are helping.
If you would like to know more about our work or deepen your involvement with our cause, please reach out with your inquiries and ideas. We would love the opportunity to chat with you. Together, we can amplify positive impact in areas where children suffer the most.
Thank you for sparing the time to read our updates, stories and appeals. Thank you for seeing the children, and listening to their stories. Your support means everything to us and to them. It is our joy to go on this journey with you.