It is February 16th and today I kissed and hugged my three girls goodbye as I left for the next adventure in South Africa. I am grateful for their support and love as I travel to fulfill my personal vision and mission. Amazing how it is always so exciting!
On this trip we will be visiting and working with three communities. First stop after touching down in Johannesburg will be a drive up to the Limpopo region to spend 4 days in Bergnek getting a new pump up and running. Making this well active will provide all the water to meet the communities needs. They will not longer have to wonder and wait for the weekly water supply to arrive if it does at all. I am working with a trusted friend and partner Keith Mosumane. I first met Keith in February of 2010. We talked about what we could do in his birth community to help and support them back a year ago and we have since grown to trust and support each other. Our first step in Bergnek is to get the well running and functional. Second we are exploring the opportunity to establish a community business to produce food grade escargot. Yes snails! Our objective is to create enough revenue to sustainably fund a healthcare centre in the Bergnek community to support the community and surrounding communities. The healthcare centre will have a large focus on children and mothers.
Next stop on the trip will be to fly to Port Elizabeth and then drive up to Mthatha and out to Malungeni to meet with an enthusiastic group of you people to talk about their ideas and how we can collaborate to facilitate as many Iziko Labahlali sessions as we can in the rural communities of the Eastern Cape Province.
After the meetings and sessions in Malungeni I will be off to Cradock to work alongside our community members in the factory, explore some new opportunities and to facilitate the next Iziko Labahlali session with 25 new participants. The course will be co-facilitated by Nini and Lionel, graduates of our first session in August 2010.
Towards the end of this adventure I will be in Cape Town for 3 days for some exciting meetings! More about those later.
Take a look at our latest video on the right and help to support our work and the communities of South Africa. You can support us by clicking here.
Watch for updates as the adventure unfolds!
The state of aid in South Africa is in shambles. Well-intentioned humanitarian aid dollars are actually increasing poverty levels and forcing countries such as South Africa to become increasingly more dependent on foreign handouts. My Arms Wide Open is a registered Canadian charity with a business model that is changing the lives of those living in the most impoverished communities in South Africa, particularly the lives of mothers and children. Warren Te Brugge is the founder and chief architect of My Arms Wide Open. In this video, Warren discusses why aid is broken and how a shift in mindset and an innovative approach to supporting individuals and communities is resulting in the creation of sustainable businesses, stronger family units and community regrowth.
Poverty continues to soar and it is clear that simply giving people ‘stuff’ does not work. Warren Te Brugge, the founder of My Arms Wide Open, explains why this albeit well-meaning approach to aid is clearly wrong. He explains that there is a better way to create opportunities, develop businesses, sustain growth and rebuild communities. He explains a business model that changes mindset - one that creates opportunities identified from within communities and through skills transfer and understanding – one that supports self-determination and growth, enabling families and community members to become the source and provider of their own needs. Nelson Mandela once said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done”. My Arms Wide Open is doing just that.
Support the communities in rural South Africa and make a one time donation or set up a monthly donation today, by visiting our site at www.myarmswideopen.org and completing the donation form. Every bit helps!
The My Arms Wide Open® Charitable Foundation, was established to provide support and collaboration with mothers, children, and youth in South Africa, enabling them to build sustainable communities and responsible businesses. With stronger families, communities emerge as a solid foundation for society. In the process they re-engage fathers to repair the family unit. In our definition, mothers include women who are caring for children and include child-led households, working within the pre-teen and teen groups. Fathers include the fathers, young males and adult males within the community.
Manzimvula® is a values-based consulting firm whose purpose is to support organizations who choose to build socially responsible and profitable enterprises that profoundly impact their organizational communities and the individuals they affect in a compassionate and sustainable manner.
A talk by Chimamanda AdichieThere is so much that is missed because we listen to a single, yet compelling story. In order for us to hear the voice of the people in South African communities we must be present and willing to not just listen but to hear. We can then collaborate to enable people to create the environment and circumstance they want or at least have the opportunity to create their circumstance. Aid as aid is now is ineffective and a handout that creates a debilitating dependancy. What support is supposed to create is self-determination and the ability for people to take care of their own needs because they have received support and had skills transferred so that they can make sustainable and long term changes in the lives, their families and their communities - themselves!.
During our most recent visit to South Africa, we were grateful to be welcomed by Rev. Dr. Spiwo Xapile at the JL Zwane Community Centre once again. We spent the morning talking about our journey so far this year, from when we first met in February 2010 until now. Rev. Xapile has an amazing tenacity to stick with things until a solution appears and has a real interest in the work we are doing in Cradock, particularly in the process and program we take the members of the community through to create a change in mindset to be able to properly establish needs and opportunities. We had an active discussion talking about what the members of the community had accomplished and how they had engaged the leadership of the town and region to really see and understand that they may not have the paper qualifications for what they want to accomplish but that they do indeed have the will and the skills.
In our minds, the keys to success include having the mindset ourselves of committing to support the communities we engage to achieve the things they want and committing for the long term. By creating a model whereby we run the projects we establish like a business instead of a not-for-profit organization, a business with heart that is, we believe we can be effective in skills and knowledge transfer as well as supporting the establish of successful long term business ventures within the communities. This is one of the benefits for My Arms Wide Open® in having a partner like Manzimvula® Ventures, Inc.