Transformation is the change from a condition of human existence contrary to God's purposes to one in which people are able to enjoy a flourishing life in harmony with God 


What is Poverty?

HOW WE DEFINE POVERTY DETERMINES OUR RESPONSE

 The World Bank Estimates that 43 % of Africa lives on less than $1.90 per day. However, the number of poor living in Africa has increased by 50 million people in the last 20 years. 

The World Bank Estimates that 43 % of Africa lives on less than $1.90 per day. However, the number of poor living in Africa has increased by 50 million people in the last 20 years. 


Poverty is the result of relationships that do not work, that are not just, that are not for life, that are not harmonious or enjoyable. Poverty is the absence of shalom in all its meanings.”
— Bryant Myers, Walking with the Poor

We believe that poverty isn’t just a lack of material things – it’s rooted in broken relationships with God, self, others, and the rest of creation.

While the symptoms of material poverty – a lack of food, clothing, or shelter – look very similar, different types of poverty actually require very different forms of poverty alleviation.

The poor are poor largely because they live in networks of relationships that do not work for their well-being. Their relationships with others are often oppressive and disempowering as a result of the non-poor “playing god” in the lives of the poor.

Our goal is to fight poverty at its core. That's why we believe in an approach called Transformational Development.


Our Approach

Transformational Development

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I use the term transformational development to reflect my concern for seeking positive change in the whole of human life materially, socially and spiritually . . . Changed people and just and peaceful relationships are the twin goals of transformation . . . Changed people are those who have discovered their true identity as children of God and who have recovered their true vocation as faithful and productive stewards of gifts from God for the well-being of all”
— Bryant Myers, Walking with the Poor

RELATIONSHIPS

 

If the nature of poverty is fundamentally relational and the cause of poverty is relationships that don't work for the well-being of others, the journey of transformation must begin and end with different types of relationships.

We must begin with people, not abstractions, research, analysis, or technique. Without changing relationships there is likely to never be much transformation.

 

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IDENTITY

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A web of lies results in the poor internalizing a view of themselves as being without value and without a contribution to make, believing they are truly god-forsaken. No transformation is possible unless this distorted, disempowering sense of Identity is replaced by the truth.

The poor suffer from a marred and diminished sense of identity. The challenge is to help them recover their identity as Children of God made in the image of God. 

Healing the marred identity of the poor is the beginning of transformation. 

VOCATION

We are all made with gifts and talents to give that contribute to the well-being of our family and community. With a recovered identity the poor are able to begin instilling and forming values that permit a better vision of the future that allow themselves to love others properly.

Our work seeks to empower people to live out these Kingdom values as they work, go to school, grow gardens, build schools, and start business. This helps people learn how to believe in themselves and not in aid or outside programs.