Now and the Future

First Things First

It’s almost impossible for parents living in poverty to focus on their future when they aren’t able to meet the daily needs of their children. Living Compassion’s first step when entering a community is to meet with its leaders to determine which critical human needs aren’t being met and then to work with the community to meet those needs. In Kantolomba, this means Living Compassion has partnered with the community to:

  • Provide access to clean, safe drinking water
  • Operate a Feeding Program for hundreds of children at risk of malnutrition or starvation
  • Ensure safe and secure housing for the members of the cooperative and their families
As an example, when Living Compassion first arrived in Kantolomba, there was virtually no clean water for this community of 13,000 people. Water-borne illness ran rampant, causing disease and preventable deaths, particularly amongst young children. Many women reported that several of their children had died before the age of five. Realizing what a difference clean water would make, Living Compassion invested in drilling a well that now provides clean water for the thousands of people living in Kantolomba. The occurrence of diarrhea, cholera and other water-borne illnesses has decreased dramatically, and the people in the community now have plenty of clean water at home for drinking and cooking, and to regularly bathe and wash their hands before eating. In Kantolomba, clean water is saving lives every day.
 
Our work in Kantolomba began by feeding 25 children. Today, Living Compassion provides a hearty meal and basic edudation for 650 children daily at our community center and will soon increase to 800.
 
 
 
Focus on the Future

After meeting the basic needs of the community, the work of poverty alleviation and community empowerment can begin. Living Compassion takes a holistic approach that tackles poverty from many angles, understanding that there are many roadblocks that prevent people from getting out of poverty.

We also believe in the importance of community. People working to get out of poverty are more likely to succeed if they are collaborating and supporting each other as they face challenges along the way. To build a sense of community, it’s important to provide a place where people can regularly convene, share ideas, and build trust in each other. In Kantolomba, Living Compassion purchased land and built a community center where English is being taught, the women’s cooperative sews and operates the feeding program for the children, the men work on construction projects, and the land is being farmed so there is more food for the increasing number of children in the feeding program.

An additional benefit of having space where the cooperative convenes daily is that the men and the women are working together - side by side. In a country where women are still treated as second-class citizens, bringing men and women together helps build a sense of mutual respect. We have seen a positive change in the way that the men and women interact with each other. Shifting gender expectations is an important part of Living Compassion’s approach. It allows progress to happen more quickly.

 
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