Friday, September 23, 2011

Nuru International Celebrates It’s Third Birthday

It’s really hard to believe it has been three years since Jake, Doug, Janine, and Nicole left the United States and flew for two days to arrive in Nairobi. From there, they hopped in a matatu (bus), and began the eight hour journey toward one of the most remote corners of Kenya, and the nation’s second poorest district (county), Kuria.

I remember when Nuru was just an idea that my friends Jake and John had started contemplating late at night over many cups of coffee. I remember talking with John as Jake was finishing up his first year of grad school at Stanford. His goal, to develop a holistic, sustainable, scalable model to help people who live on less than a dollar a day to lift themselves out of that condition. He wanted the organization to be results oriented with a clear exit strategy, and long term going into some of the most desperate places on earth.

Some ideas are good, but they never get legs and they stay on the drawing board. But Nuru has been different. Virtually everyone we have been able to talk to 'gets' what we are doing, and they want to be part of it. They know that the solution isn’t handouts or isolated interventions. They know from their own experience that when they have been equipped with tools and knowledge, they have been able to do amazing things, and the story has the potential to develop in the same way anywhere in the world.

Three years ago, there were a handful of people in Kenya who were willing to trust and collaborate together with Jake, Nicole, Janine, and later others. And now, there are over 10,000 people who have been able to experience lasting positive change in their community as a result of their own community’s leadership and willingness to work together to forge a better future for people in their own community and beyond.

And back here in the States, there has existed a small skeleton of staff, and a growing number of volunteers, advocates, investors, and supporters who see the condition of our global neighbors and have been inspired to act. Again, I remember when Nuru’s grassroots movement was composed of a handful of activist in the hills of Appalachia who believed together that we could change the world and make a significant impact in ending extreme poverty, together, one community at a time.

Now, there are literally thousands of people who have joined Nuru’s work. They follow us on twitter, friend us on facebook, tell their friends and neighbors, and invest their time and money into inspiring others to confront the greatest humanitarian crisis of our generation—extreme poverty. Together, we have taken Nuru’s story to other organizations, to schools, churches, and to our workplaces. We’ve reminded people that there is hope, and they have an incredible opportunity to join with us in this work. And, they have joined us, and together, we are becoming a movement, an unstoppable force, a revolution, as we work to make a lasting impact in the world.

As Nuru celebrates its third birthday, I am grateful for the opportunity to work together with so many. I’m grateful that we have a panoply of significant and incremental successes that we can celebrate. But more than this, I’m excited for the future. We have learned so much over these last three years. We have become more focused in our efforts, and we have had a steadily increasing impact in our work. Together, I believe we can change the world.

As Jake so often says, may we continue to ‘stay in the fight’ and see even more of our global neighbors have lives filled with opportunity and choice instead of desperation. Together, we are ending extreme poverty, one community at a time. Thanks for being Nuru together with us wherever you are in the world. Your contribution is more significant than you know!

And as a small gesture, I want to make a birthday wish request of you. Will you share this video with at least three of your friends, and let them see some of what we have been able to accomplish together over the last three years?

Thanks for being Nuru!


Alise said...

So bummed to miss tonight's celebration, but know that we fully support everything Nuru is doing and can't wait to see what else is in store! (And I promise, it will make the blog soon!)

Vanessa Vancour said...

What a beautiful video!