Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Cultivate Hope With Nuru International On #GivingTuesday

This year Nuru is working to raise $300,000 to expand its efforts to 1,500 new households in the southern highlands of Ethiopia. And today, on #GivingTuesday, a generous donor from West Virginia has stepped forward to match every donation received up to $15,000 today. Will you make a donation to help maximize this match and help Nuru serve even more families in 2017? Every bit helps!

Since the summer of 2007, I have had the incredible honor of working together with a few of my friends from my undergraduate days, namely John Hancox, Jake Harriman, Andy Cogar, and Trey Dunham to make our own unique contributions to a massive global problem. The problem is global extreme poverty. And, while the problem by itself is huge, the very fact of its existence leads to the proliferation and thriving of an array of other problems including global instability, violent extremism, child soldiers, slavery, and human trafficking just to name a few. 

Back in 2007, we had no idea what might be in store in the years ahead, but we had a plan, a ton of passion, and a number of really smart and committed leaders contributing their skills to building an organization that could make a tangible impact in the lives of others. As we launched Nuru International in September 2008, a number of our friends had thrown their lot in with us and committed time and money to helping spread the word about the issue, and Nuru's unique contribution to the problem. In a matter of months, Nuru had grown from an idea to an actual organization that was serving approximately 2,500 people in southwestern Kenya. 

And as of this year, that number has grown to more than 100,000 people. That's more than 100,000 lives changed for the better because people like me and you stepped into the arena and chose to do something rather than stand by idly as our global neighbors suffered. And we are just getting started. In 2015, our western staff left Kenya for good, and local leaders are continuing to adapt and improve their efforts to address extreme poverty in their country. They are cultivating hope in areas of the world that are all too often forgotten by most.

Earlier this year, I had the honor of traveling with Jamie to visit our second country project in Ethiopia. The area where Nuru works is high up in the mountains of southern Ethiopia, and it is about a 2.5 hour drive from the nearest city to the area. Together, Jamie and I listened to stories from farmers and their families about the transformation that had taken place for them since Nuru's arrival. They talked about increases in crop yields and being able to feed their families. They talked about improving their savings and their health, and they talked about things I didn't think about with regard to programs. They talked about how their marriages were healthier because they were not frustrated by conversations about money or frequent discussions about children being sick. Their marriages were healthier because they were developing skills to improve their livelihoods. There are so many aspects of our lives and our relationships that improve when people have the ability to make meaningful choices for their future! As we walked along and talked with these families, we also witnessed how Nuru had equipped these families to be able to cope with one of the worst droughts in Ethiopia to occur in many years.

Farming is risky business, and farmers are inherently risk takers; it’s always been that way. All over the world, our food supply relies on farmers taking risks. All over the world, parents want a better life for their children than the one they had. Amarech Sama was among the first individuals to enroll in Nuru's programs in Meteka Mele Ethiopia in 2014. Her community was deeply affected by the drought, but because of Nuru, she and her family are thriving. In fact, Amarech just gave birth to a baby boy, and has not only improved her own financial literacy, but she is participating in programs to learn to better care for her newborn in Nuru's healthcare training programs (and teaching others) ways to better care for their infants as well! Please watch and share this video to learn more about Amarech and the work of Nuru in Kenya and Ethiopia as well.

This holiday season, you can help change the lives of thousands of our global neighbors, and cultivate hope in the southern mountains of Ethiopia and beyond. Will you share this post and make a gift to support women like Amarech Sama and move Nuru's mission forward today?

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