For too long, we’ve underestimated the power of people living in poverty. Charity tells families in poverty they can’t. Uncharity equips them with tools so they can. Charity tells recipients they are not worthy, not capable. Uncharity reminds participants they are created in the image of God.
Without a safety net, many poor families are one disaster away from spiraling into extreme poverty. In the past, we’ve tried to help them using our skills and ideas. But despite our best intentions, charity rarely provides a long-term solution, often creating dependency and hopelessness instead.
People live on $1.25 or less a day:
Nearly 1 person out of every 5
It’s also spiritual and social. Money alone cannot break the cycle of poverty. Through discipleship, fellowship, and Bible study, HOPE International helps clients realize their inherent worth in Christ and experience true and lasting heart change.
HOPE International believes charity is not the answer. Some of the best solutions come from those living in poverty themselves. We provide tools that restore dignity and empower individuals to put their skills and creativity to work.
Clients use these services to launch small businesses, strengthen existing businesses, and build up savings to prepare for the future and guard against emergencies. Slowly, gradually, they break free from the cycle of poverty.
Once their families’ immediate needs are met, clients are empowered to invest in issues closest to their hearts. Knowing who they are in Christ gives them courage to become job creators, leaders, and advocates in their communities.
More than facts or figures, our clients are the real force behind uncharity. The stories below highlight the dignity of men and women empowered to become providers in their families and communities.
Even though over half the population in the Republic of Congo is unemployed, Jean didn’t need a handout. He already had the God-given skills and talents to provide for himself and his brother.
Anandi now has big dreams: for all three of her children to receive an education and to expand her business. "I have experienced the Lord powerfully," she says.
To help provide for her children, Fadzai depended on handouts from a local nonprofit. When they stopped, Fadzai gave up hope for the future.
Eight years ago, Jacqueline seemed like the ideal candidate for charity. Struggling to provide, she had turned to a lifestyle of prostitution, leaving her and her four children ostracized and vulnerable.
As you read these stories of uncharity, we invite you to reflect on your own approach to giving. Below are some questions that have shaped our thinking on poverty, charity, and dignity. Take time to think through your own responses, using the included links as a starting point for reflection. We don't have all the answers, but we love to engage in conversation around these topics.
Has my giving created dependency?
"Traditional charity erodes the nature of people and the fabric of society." www.smorgasblurb.com
How does my view of men and women in poverty affect my approach to giving?
"We need a change in mindsets so that people can recognize the dignity and creative capacity of their brothers and sisters in the developing nations." www.povertycure.org
Have I considered the spiritual and social dimensions of poverty?
"In the West, we define poverty primarily by a lack of material wealth, such as insufficient food, money, clean water, and medicine. The poor themselves describe it in different terms." www.peterkgreer.com