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Contagious Generosity: Communities in Ethiopia Pass Kindness Along

BY NAOMI BIESHEUVEL
 

Do you remember singing around the campfire? “It only takes a spark to get a fire going…” Our best experiences make us want to pass on what we’ve learned. The poet Marianne Moore wrote, “As contagion of sickness makes sickness, contagion of trust can make trust.” And contagion of generosity can make more generosity.

Sasiga is located in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. The average monthly salary in this country is about $325 CAD, but it’s lower in areas like Sasiga, where only about 11% of residents have access to drinking water.

Despite the strained financial standing of most of the people, this year church leaders encouraged their communities to focus on supporting the most vulnerable among them: widows, low-income women, and orphans.

Savings and Loans Groups were created in Belo Central and Milki Gudina with the help of 40 church volunteers. These groups, organized by FH and funded through Gift Guide Piggy Bank purchases, focused on education in money management, bookkeeping, and more. Regular members of the low-income community who wanted to benefit from financial training and support joined. They collected an extraordinary total of $1,965 CAD, which they put to work investing in the lives of their neighbours. Perhaps the most significant contribution the group was able to make was in the life of Luche Dechasa.
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Luche is a mother of four sons living in Belo Central. With little income, meeting her family’s most basic needs was an ongoing struggle. The group stepped in and supplied Luche and her family with one quintal (about 100kg) of maize and sorghum, a new grass roof for their home, and blankets and beds for each member of the family.

Such generous efforts show that the people of Sasiga will be ready to sustain the great changes begun here, even after they graduate [out of partnership with FH]...

Word that these communities had risen to their church leaders’ challenge and made a difference in their neighbours’ lives spread. Soon, the nearby communities of Anger and Lalisa Bereda became excited to take on the challenge as well.

In Lalisa Bereda, government workers and individuals from the community contributed $65 CAD to support 10 vulnerable orphaned children with school materials like stationery and uniforms. The group also planned to support twice as many orphans.

Similarly, 15 committed individuals in Anger contributed $327 CAD to provide assistance to 31 people this year. Five of them required visits to the hospital, so the group sponsored their treatment. The 26 others in financial crisis were given 50 kilograms of maize and sorghum.

With a little training and encouragement, these community members have become empowered to not only focus on how to improve their own lives, but also how to help the less fortunate around them. Such generous efforts show that the people of Sasiga will be ready to sustain the great changes begun here, even after they graduate from partnership with FH this year. It’s exciting to imagine how contagious their momentum might become.


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Food for the Hungry: Contagious Generosity: Communities in Ethiopia Pass Kindness Along
Contagious Generosity: Communities in Ethiopia Pass Kindness Along
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Food for the Hungry
http://blog.fhcanada.org/2016/05/contagious-generosity-communities-in.html
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