“Give a man a fish, he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime.”
While this statement holds true, John Perkins, a champion of racial and economic justice, challenges us to ask: “Who owns the pond?” Giving individuals fish is not an option for us at ND Hope, nor is simply bestowing knowledge or resources. We want our communities to eventually own the pond, because it is only through true ownership that the cycle of poverty may be broken.
Our Beyond Charity model will emphasize direct work with families in rural villages in Liberia to help them to be self-sufficient. Our goal is to work with each family for three to five years, starting with families that are in extreme poverty and gradually moving them towards self-sufficiency or economic independence.
Families enrolled in the program will meet with a case manager who will assess the needs of the family and develop a plan to get the family out of poverty. Families enrolled in the program will receive 100% free tuition, health care, and stipends for food during the first year. An assessment will be completed to determine streams of revenue for the family that will move them towards self-sufficiency. For example, a mother could start a business with an interest-free loan or enroll in a vocational training program. During this year, household heads will receive training on creating savings and be required to open a saving account and develop a savings plan. We want families enrolled in the program to have a financial safety net, as support will decrease gradually.
Families will receive tuition assistance, health care, and food stipends for food at a reduced rate of 90 percent. The goal in Year 2 is for families to generate revenues and contribute to their household.
Families will be required to pay 20 percent toward tuition (for no more than three children). Healthcare and stipends will be reduced by 40 percent. The goal here is for families enrolled in the program to have ownership of their business, material, etc. For example, a other who enrolled in the program and attended a vocational sewing program would own her sewing machines and independently sell her wares. We will work with community partners to provide some of the equipment for free or at a reduced price.
Families enrolled in the program will be required to pay 40 percent toward tuition (for no more than three children). Healthcare and stipends will be reduced by 60 percent. We will start to work on an exit strategy for the community, empowering participants to engage in their communities and teaching the importance of “paying it forward.”