How do we bridge the gap from poverty? In college, I remember struggling with the idea of going into impoverished areas on short-term missions because I saw generous handouts that I felt didn’t do anything to really make a change. In some ways I wondered if it hurt those we were intending to help.
Last week I listened to economist, Dr. Barry Asmus, speak at 1Mission’s special event. He spoke about the way to bring communities out of poverty is to give them the deeds and titles to their property and homes.
At 1Mission, a minimum of 200 hours of community service is one of the requirements to earn their house. Living in the barrio makes it troublesome to stay healthy, thereby making it difficult to keep a job or go to school. Hence, the commitment to 200 hours of community service is a grand but necessary one to provide opportunities for active participation in community development rather than passively receiving.
They rally as a community to help each other because through 1Mission, they build houses by hand (no use of high technology or machines to help, so it can be recreated by the families living in the barrio), and they get the deed and title to their property.
Here’s how it works:
Here’s the human impact:
What can we do?
We can directly be part of the house build, we can pray for the families and those involved, and we can raise money and awareness from afar.
I’m an educator, and I keep thinking about the possibilities here for nurturing empathy, raising awareness of poverty around the world, and for launching a fundraising campaign for the families that 1Mission works with. As I ponder service learning in the classroom, and the impact it makes on the students, local community, and global community, I wonder how to bring what 1Mission does into the classrooms and schools.
My husband, son, brother-in-law, and several friends just returned from a house build last weekend. When talking to my son, I feel his excitement for doing something amazing for others. He completely knows and understands that he can make a difference in the lives of others by serving them. This is the excitement I believe 1Mission’s vision can and will extend to others.
How can you help impoverished communities?
How could service learning in the classrooms help our children learn about empathy?
In what ways are you learning to be a servant?
In what ways are you developing others?