Robert F. Kennedy
I found this quote in a book I'm reading called: "The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World." (Jacqueline Novogratz, Rodale books: 2009). Jacqueline Novogratz is founder and CEO of Acumen Fund, a nonprofit venture capital firm for the poor that invests in sustainable enterprises, bringing healthcare, safe water, alternative energy, and housing to low-income people in the developing world. The title from the book is a result of the "coincidence" of the author finding a blue sweater that she donated to Goodwill twenty-five years earlier, on the back of a little boy in Rwanda. Coincidence?? Or evidence of the "small," connected world in which we live? As with Jessica Jackley, co-founder of Kiva.org, these brave and generous women are cultivating sustainability (the microfinance loans offered through Kiva have a 98% repayment rate), in underserved populations and geographic areas.
What both of these organizations have in common is the knowledge that sustainability does not happen with "handouts" and gifts. Sustainability and empowerment happens with responsibility, accountability, honest work, and fair trade. "Gifts" do nothing to foster self-esteem and the self worth that comes from accomplishment. In our connected world, a $25 loan can dramatically improve someone's life! (see banner on "guiding principles" page)
What are your thoughts about fostering connection and self-sufficiency??