The idea for PovertySwap was birthed in Ethiopia. Not principally from the massive incidence of poverty and living on the edge of existence that can often be witnessed there, but it was inspired by the innovative and creative methods that we saw our Partners employ within their local community to make that simple exchange which can move someone quite literally from death to life, from survival to community, from destitution to hope.
Ethiopian culture is reliant on strong family bonds and community networks for survival and well-being. The spread of HIV/AIDS throughout Africa has devastating natural effect on those bonds and networks. In Ethiopia young women and their new babies are left with nothing and no-one to whom they can turn. The stigma and lack of education regarding the disease renders them exiles, lacking basic provision and self-esteem and becoming vulnerable prey for those who are corrupt.
Our Partners have been able to train volunteers who work with the small families for support, access to health care and training in practical employment and business skills. It is a simple but innovative, pioneering work which has become part of the transforming process that becomes Joy for Mourning! As young girls arrive destitute in the cities from remote rural villages from where they are outcast, the women begin to support and help each other forming a network that can seek out accommodation, milk for newborn children, medicines and basic provisions. The love and care of other human beings and the possibility that God actually cares too is more than they might have hoped for, but amongst our Partners work this is what they seem to find most helpful.
In the 1980s the Band Aid Concert brought to our attention terrible famine and the deaths of millions of people in Ethiopia. The Christmas song “Feed The World” became an anthem representing some uncomfortable thoughts regarding Ethiopia’s poorest people. Famine is still a constant threat in Ethiopia with statistics numbering millions of those who may die of starvation each year! There are also fertile lands where people are able to harvest 3 times a year and are effective at sharing their produce with those in the country who are less fortunate. Kindness is not in short supply and Creative Development is in the hands of some of the world’s most innovative, well educated people. For example much of the world’s coffee is grown in Ethiopia. It takes innovative pioneering industry to be able to supply those small beans to the highly profitable coffee shop cultures of the world!
Next time you drink coffee, consider Ethiopia – its people, its potential and the opportunity for you to partner with us to bring transformation to the lives of the poorest of the poor! Enjoy your coffee….and Get in Touch