When we listen to the needs of women and children, they can empower themselves, grow their communities and thrive. This is the idea that drives Warren Te Brugge in his mission to help solve the social and sustainability issues of our time. This is also the idea that compelled Tides Canada to recognize Warren as one of Canada’s top inspirational and social change leaders for 2010 (http://tidescanada.org/pages/ar2010/).
When Warren left South Africa for Canada in the 1980’s, he knew he would return one day to begin rebuilding the impoverished communities where he used to play as a child. Today, as the founder of My Arms Wide Open Foundation (MAWO), a Vancouver-based, Canadian registered charity, Warren now travels to his home country frequently to educate, train and fund small businesses that work in partnership with local mothers, children and youth. MAWO’s goal is to help young South Africans better their own communities by overcoming the economic and societal prejudices of previous generations.
For Warren, changing the world involves changing the current model of philanthropy (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrV1c5-qY2c). “Short term gifts don’t create permanent change or reduce dependence on aid”, says Te Brugge. “Instead, we need to teach women and children to develop lasting skills and self-sufficiency. Our model involves listening carefully to the members of the community as they identify their needs. Then we work with and support them while giving them the tools they need to make their own lasting change. The leaders that emerge become “agents of change” in the community and in turn, act as mentors for the children, youth and mothers hoping for a better future.”
Warren and MAWO are forging an innovative model of international giving by encouraging long-term family and community success. Their work is focused in five key areas that respond to indigenous needs and benefit the community as a whole. Supported by a growing network of partners, My Arms Wide Open is committed to helping communities be vibrant, sustainable and environmentally attractive.
Madelaine HatchGranville Communications
604 720-5185 (PST)