A friend recently shared an example of helping with me that involved their church teens. The group identified a family that had a home that needed painting. The family agreed to let the teens do the project. On the day of the project, the family sat on the porch and in the yard, not helping, but watching the teens do all the work.
When an individual or group takes on the challenge of helping those who live in poverty, they often consider what the impoverished need without asking those who are impoverished. The problems are approached from the viewpoint of the “helper” rather than asking those who will be helped what do they think they need.
All too often, when projects are approached this way, the helpers do a project that makes themselves feel good, but does not address what was really wanted or needed by the recipients. This tends to result in a lack of ownership, appreciation or commitment on the part of those receiving the help.
Our new E-book, Poverty as my Teacher – Learning to Create Sustainable Family Communities, https://www.amazon.com/Poverty-As-Teacher-Sustainable-Communities-ebook/dp/B01I0G33U4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1468359590&sr=8-1&keywords=poverty+as+my+teacher gives more examples of what is needed to have a project that will last – true sustainable development. The starting point is getting those who will benefit involved in deciding what needs to be done and in the doing of the project.