“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” Hebrews 10:24 (NLT)
What is community development?
It can sound pretty complicated but let’s break it down!
When a community is in crisis, basic needs can be quickly met. This type of work could be providing food, water, shelter, and other practical care. When organizations only help with short-term needs it doesn’t help the community with longer term issues that impact health, education and nutrition.
Community development programs are so important because they are long-term solutions to poverty and injustice. These programs provide things like employment training, farming techniques, drilling clean water wells and teaching families how to maintain their new water source, and so much more!
So, what does the impact of community development look like? Let’s take a look at how Martha, Sara and Adelaide have benefitted from community development projects through ERDO programs.
Martha is from Kwamhlanga, a town in South Africa. Most people in this area are out of work and depend on social grants to survive. There was a great need in this community to help people develop skills to empower them to make money on their own. With this in mind, ERDO developed a sewing project to help with this need. Martha was one of the women selected to take part in this new project. She was taught the basics of sewing and learned how to make sheets, linens, skirts, pants and formal wear. She was also taught how to care for the machine itself. Martha is extremely grateful for the training that she received from the sewing project. Since completing her lessons, she has now begun to fulfill her dream of starting a school uniform factory. Her goal is to provide low cost uniforms to local children, especially children in ERDO’s ChildCARE Plus program. She also recently started training some of the local young ladies in sewing so they could earn an income as well.
Sara* is another example of the powerful effects of community development. Sara lives in Samar, an island in the Philippines and would always have to wait hours in a line to fetch water for her family. Once she reached the front of the line, it would take two hours to fill her five-gallon container. The picture below shows all the containers lined up as owners wait their turn. Imagine each of those containers representing two hours each to fill.
Through an ERDO-supported well project, three wells were dug in Samar to provide an abundance of clean water to the community. Sara can now fill her container in just a few minutes and no longer has to wait hours in long lines. Sara, along with many other women in her community can now attend to their other responsibilities that they were unable to take care of because of the amount of time they would spend collecting water.
Since joining the project, Adelaide has been very thankful for the support … and encouragement through the Word of God
Another area of community development work is through microfinance. In Burundi, Adelaide is extremely grateful for ERDO’s microfinance program, the Wezesha project. She is a 51-year-old widow who lives with her three children. Before joining the Wezesha Project, Adelaide was running a very small business selling cooking oil and household materials. Unfortunately, she was still unable to provide for her family.
After hearing about the Wezesha Project from a friend, Adelaide was excited to learn that the project would help her with her small business. Since joining the project, Adelaide has been very thankful for the support she has been receiving. Through Wezesha, Adelaide has received a small business loan, business management training and encouragement through the Word of God. Her favourite scripture that she likes to quote is Proverbs 10:4: “Lazy hands bring poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.” Since joining the Wezesha Project, Adelaide’s business has expanded greatly. She has now purchased her own stall in the new Ngagara market which provides her business with much more stability and she can now pay the school fees for her children to attend school.
Without community development projects, Martha’s dream of starting a uniform factory would not be a reality today, Sara would still be waiting hours to collect water for her family and Adelaide’s business would not be successful as it is today. Thanks to loving Canadian donors who regularly support community development projects, Martha, Sara and Adelaide are now better providing for their families and have hope for a brighter future.