Project Aid is a partnership whereby the villagers participate in the process with the ultimate goal of self-sustainability. We endeavor to create opportunities rather than dependency. To provide a hand-up rather than a hand-out.
Our June 2012 blog Does Aid Work? outlines the research we did before we set up One Person; and we continue to try to make sure that any impact we make on the community is a positive one. But of course - we have made mistakes along the way! But the beauty of our project is that we are in constant touch with officials and contacts in Kahama and are aware when we take a wrong turn, and rectify it.
The 2012 blog describes the folly of our planning to donate milk goats to an orphanage. Makes sense hey? Milk for orphans? But it was a well-meaning assumption that would have created a great deal of work for the orphanage ladies who already volunteer their time! Our first 40' sea-container, which was shipped to Rwanda, carried far too many clothes. Clothes can be sold cheaply on the black-market damaging (or sometimes destroying) the livelihood of the villagers who make and sell clothing. We now send clothing only for identified families or groups in dire need.
At present we are giving, but in a structured, planned way; we are shipping resources to Kahama that would be prohibitively expensive to purchase locally, or cannot be found in the area. In this way we can give the healthcare and educational system a major boost.
We do give when we provide support for the most vulnerable children (as identified by professionals in Kahama) but this is the context of emergency aid rather than building a dependency. In a planned process we are now beginning to provide educational and entrepreneurial support.
Once a strong foundation is laid, we will stop shipping resources and continue to work with officials to determine the best way to move forward. We envisage sponsorship for education/vocational training and loans for small business ventures.
We look forward to working in partnership with the community of Kahama for many years to come but we greatly look forward to the day when the region is self-sustaining. Though we will still continue to visit and enjoy the company of friends…
For more information, to volunteer or to make a donation contact me , mail to The One Person Project, 10108 Julia Street, Summerland, B.C. V0H 1Z5 donate on-line or make a payment into our account at the Summerland & District Credit Union.