I’ve heard about organizations with children in their programs who are the third and fourth generations in their family of being sponsored through those programs. While there’s something beautiful about this, at the same time it’s somewhat tragic. The goal of poverty-fighting programs should be to break that cycle of needing sponsorship to provide for basic needs. If we are ever going to break the cycle of poverty, then we need to be thinking about how we support economic development in a community.

Don’t get me wrong. Child sponsorship is critically important. It helps provide basic, immediate needs. I’ve seen communities where the sponsorship program provides a lunch meal to kids while they are at school. For many of them it’s the only meal that they get in a day. And it’s not just food, but access to other basic necessities like hygiene, medical care, and education.

Help One Now is committed to improving the living situation of orphans and vulnerable children. (Click to tweet this!)

Part of what this means is that we’re also committed to ensuring their community is a place where they’ll be able to thrive as an adult. When a child we care for grows up with an education that we’ve helped them achieve, then there must be something for them to do so that they can provide for the families they’ll soon have.

It all points back to job creation. And that’s something that starts here and now.

In fact, many children in poverty-stricken nations are orphaned because their parents simply don’t have the means to provide for them.  They are left with someone who at least has the means to feed the child. In other words, if the parents of the child had a job that allowed them to provide the basic necessities, then they likely would not have given up their child in the first place.

Therefore, one of the best means of slowing the orphan crisis is economic development and job creation. (Click to tweet this!)

That’s why we always make it a priority to not go in and do the work for the people in places where we operate. When we start a project like the Legacy Project, we may supply the funding, but we always look to hire local workers, and buy local materials. Not only do local workers and materials suppliers benefit, but so do other vendors who those workers may now be buying meals from, and countless other small businesses who have customers with more money to spend due to the work.

And it’s not just hiring labor for building projects that makes a difference in a community’s economic development. Microloan programs help young (and old) entrepreneurs start and maintain businesses. A microloan can help an artist get established and eventually train others in their craft. A microloan can buy a motorcycle for a young man to earn money as a motorcycle taxi. The impact on economic development in a community can be far-reaching, and the possibilities are only limited by the mind of the entrepreneur.

We believe that we cannot change the life of one child if we are not doing everything in our power to transform one community. Job creation and economic development should always be the at the foundation of the efforts for any group, organization, or person who hopes to see change in areas affected by extreme poverty. It’s about breaking the cycle of poverty, and it’s important if we don’t want to sponsor generations of children to come.