By Guest Blogger, Mary Schmidt Marketing Troubleshooter
This is a quote from the Global Hope Network International's web site about a village in Afghanistan the group is helping become self-sustaining.
Qala e Nadar is a small village framed by rugged mountains on one side and less than fifteen kilometers from Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan on the other.
Overlooked and forgotten, Qala e Nadar is small and too close to the city to merit help. Thirty years ago, the traditionally nomadic community settled on this dry, arid and barren plain. There is no accessible school, no local bazaar, no immediate health care, no electricity, no running water, and no literate adult. The community is sustained by some of the men and teenage boys who get periodic work in nearby brickworks...
“Teach us,” is the cry of the women of Qala e Nadar. A start has been made.
Of course, there are many women who need help - throughout the world. So many, in fact, it's totally overwhelming. And, in a google search there were about 191,000 results for "adopt a village." What's so special about GHNI's program?
Here's what's special. Good old-fashioned face-to-face connection. Mine with Jeff Power, US Partnership Director. (That's his smiling face on the left.) That of village adopters with the villagers, through trips as well as blogs and video conferences. People talking to people. What a concept!
I met Jeff at SOBCon Northwest last fall. He gave a great presentation about how GHNI helps the poorest of the poor, by giving them a hand up NOT a hand out.
As he and I discussed over - ahem - more than one martini, many "do gooder" organizations actually don't do much good. Lots of money gets thrown around. Well-meaning people fly in and out. Food sits rotting on docks (or is sold on the black market.) The white folks swoop in to give patronizing, boilerplate advice (Kinda like big-timus consultants do to big corporations. I can relate.)
GHNI does it differently. They hire locals and focus on solving the root causes of the problem(s). Since I'm a problem-solver by nature, this approach really excited me. Instead of simply asking for donations, GHNI asks people to get involved and to build relationships. And, they make it pretty easy to do so. You can take a trip, adopt a village...or, yes, "simply" make a donation (money is always welcome.)
Long story short (well sorta), I want to adopt a village. But, I can't do it alone. That's where the readers (and writers) of Lipsticking, along with All the Single Girlfriends come in. (Thanks Yvonne and Toby!)
Over the next several weeks, we'll be firming up the details of what/who/how with Jeff and his team. So stay tuned!
P.S. If you want to get involved RIGHT now, that'd be terrific. Just let me know via comment below.