Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Happy 4th Birthday Nuru International!

Four years ago, there was a small group of us who had a big idea. It was about ending extreme poverty. We had come from various careers and walks of life because we believed that global extreme poverty is the greatest humanitarian crisis of our generation, and that future generations would judge us based on what we did or did not do about this issue. We joined together, friends linked with a common vision, a vision that was birthed into reality by Jake Harriman and John Hancox. A vision that is now reality, a reality that has brought thousands of people around the world together to make lasting change in ending extreme poverty.

Four years ago we took this big idea to Kuria West, a district in the Nyanza province of Kenya, and one of the poorest communities in the country. We began by listening as farmers told us about chronic hunger in their families because they couldn’t produce enough food to eat. They told us of their own lack of ability to budget and save, and of the challenges of trying to pay school fees or just surviving as they and their family had sickness as a regular part of their lives as a result of malnutrition, unclean water, and malaria among other challenges.

Since that time Nuru has been able to help literally thousands of people in Kuria West to begin charting a new future. Children are able to go to school, families can produce more than enough food to eat, people are able to save, budget, and even purchase life saving tools like malaria nets, water purification technology, and soap. Lives are being saved, and a new pathway and future is being created for this community.

But that is just part of the story. There are incredible leaders who are emerging in the community in Kenya who are helping Nuru’s programs expand, and who will one day take these programs to new districts in Kenya. There are revenue generating activities that are taking place that will make this endeavor financially sustainable in the long term as well.

And all of this is because a number of people from around the world have chosen to be part of this vision. From Alaska to Switzerland and from Kenya to Australia. Individuals are choosing not to accept the way things are but are instead working to chart a different future. A future where people have clean water to drink, food to eat, improved health, savings, and improved education. People are choosing to be light and hope.

Here in the US, churches, students, individuals, corporations, and more are choosing to be light and hope. They are choosing action over apathy, and they are part of changing thousands of lives.

Just last month, my wife and I traveled to Kuria and heard people tell their stories. We saw the results of an amazing maize harvest, and we met children who will grow up not knowing the desperation of extreme poverty. They will not know hunger. They will have a life filled with even greater opportunities than their parents could have previously imagined. 

I’m in awe of what has been accomplished in the last four years, and I’m excited to celebrate a big idea becoming reality, together with you, one community at a time. I can’t wait to see what the future has for the people of Kuria West, Kenya and beyond. May we never grow weary of doing good, and helping our global neighbors take steps to improve their lives forever. And may we each be part of bringing lasting change to this world. 

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