While Village2Village Project is raising and supporting each child in our program UNIQUELY, we are ALSO creatively engaging each child’s extended family members through our Family Empowerment ministry.
Each child’s guardian comes to monthly Guardian Meetings at the site where we keep them informed about the children in our program, and seek out feedback from them.
Earlier this year we divided the guardians into smaller groups by villages within Serere Village (more like a neighborhoods) to try to build a greater sense of community and support … all led by the guardians themselves.
Each group elected a Treasurer, Secretary, Vice Chairperson and Chairperson.
We have begun hosting speakers to present during the Guardian Meetings, such as specialists on locally relevant farming techniques, or advisers on how to manage money and best structure savings groups.
Nearly all of the groups have chosen to start a savings and loan program. Guardians have been instructed on the forms of, reasons for, and the principles of a village savings and loan group. Through a savings and loan group, members contribute equally, and take turns borrowing when needs, projects or emergencies arise. They are accountable to one another to pay their loan back on a defined schedule so that another member may borrow.
Then, facilitated by the V2V Family Empowerment Team, each Village Group decides what mutually beneficial projects they would like to do together. Most ventures are concepts to earn money that they can better accomplish by banding together as a group. For example, one group decided to raise chickens together in order to sell the eggs and eventually some of the surplus birds. One member volunteered to keep the birds on their land, then each member was required to bring a chicken to contribute to the project. From their savings they were able to purchase medications to ensure the birds’ health and supplemental feed.
Another group decided to plant a crop of sesame together. With everyone working together to contribute to the project, there is greater opportunity for success and less strain on the individual. In addition, this creates a close knit community of support for the group members. Here the seedlings are treated with a fungicide in their handmade greenhouse.
Here the members are transplanting their seedlings into the plot.
Exciting, isn’t it?
It is so wonderful to see Village2Village Project maturing and engaging the community in ways that help people to become INDEPENDENT. By working WITH extended family members (or a surviving parent) to support orphaned children in their homes, Village2Village Project has the opportunity to come alongside them IN COMMUNITY to solve problems and move the region forward….OUT of extreme poverty.