Community Transformation Committee
Last fall we were doing a lot of talking and researching about how to best reach our community – how can we make a long term difference in communities without creating dependency and allowing the community to take ownership and responsibility in their own change.
So we started with a community wide meeting – a written invitation to the entire community, for them to come and dream with us. We cast the vision about how they are responsible for their own future and how they are filled with potential and that we believed in them. We filled an entire white board of dreams that the community had for themselves. The thing is – their dreams were a lot different than what a community in the US would ask for. No one was asking for a car or riches – they were dreaming of roofs that don’t leak, having a latrine, electricity, being able to send their child to high school, starting a business, having a job, etc. All things a North American considers a ‘right’.
Then we asked the community to nominate and then vote for a committee of leaders that would work with El Ayudante to make those dreams a reality. And this is who was voted in: 5 men & 1 woman respected in the community that represent both local churches, and people with a heart to transform their community through serving. Pretty awesome!
Since that meeting, we’ve been meeting with them every 2 weeks and have gone through 11 area of community (education, family, infrastructure, self-sustainability, etc) talking about where they would like to be in each aspect. From that, we have come up with the top list of initiatives that we are starting with. We have loved working with the passion and excitement of this committee and encouraging them to see their potential and their assets. One of the goals of this committee is to bring back their self-respect and ownership of their own lives. They really do have a lot to offer in time, intelligence, and experience.
Although the committee is just 3 months old, so far we have had a community Christmas party, a work day with the soccer team, created an action plan of improving water from the source, completed a community survey, and provided school supplies for the local school kids.
4 weeks ago our committee came to the meeting and said they were concerned because they were hearing moms say they couldn’t send their children to school this year due to the cost of school supplies. We as a committee talked about the importance of educating the next generation and how we must encourage our community to make education a priority. So the committee instigated a supply drive. Both of the local churches supported the cause as well as the El Ayudante board, staff, and others. Last week we sorted the supplies and then took the personalized bags to the first day of school – where the committee presented the supplies to the children. It was a wonderful thing to see these community leaders helping their community!
This is just the beginning. We continue to meet and learn together and we will accomplish the dreams of the community! Please pray for our committee and for us as we learn together how to transform the community of Lo De Reina for Jesus!