A missionary friend notified me on Facebook that she was selling the handiwork of a local friend of hers. She wanted to figure out how to help the working poor.
She was working with a local woman who faces huge struggles in life. Not only is the woman poor, she also has to manage physical challenges that would be difficult to deal with here in Canada with all of our resources. She does this in a place where handicapped accessible roads and buildings don’t exist.
My friend has taught some sewing skills to her local friends. The product is great! Really cute clothing for children.
My friend was taking order to sell the clothes back home and people were lining up to order. They loved it!
Will this help change poverty?
The question is will this last. I don’t need to ask about her motives. She definitely really wants to test how to help the working poor. That part is obvious.
But will it work? Maybe you have also wondered, when you see that Facebook request for you to buy something, does it really help?
Creating lasting change is a tough gig, but there is one key you can always look for.
Try to find the weak link.
If you want any project to last you have to look at the weak links. Where will problems bunch up? What happens if something changes? Who manages the problems?
This is the key to lasting change.
I’m afraid that if I am totally honest, most of these kinds of projects last only as long as the outsider continues to travel back and forth providing free distribution and promotions. For many people who sell handicrafts to support a project, the hard truth is when they leave, the market will also leave.
That means that the most supportive person in the project is also the weakest link.
What is the weak link in your plan?
Simple solutions are easy to find from the outside. If the whole thing hinges on you then it is not sustainable. It will not last.
The key to make something last is to answer the what happens when you leave. This is why I was excited to see that my missionary friend is also hard at work in sourcing a local market for the clothes. A local coffeehouse has recently stocked the goods for sale!
For this project to truly be successful, it will need to grow right where you live.