By Genessa Newberry
The universally accepted law of cause and effect reminds us that every action produces a reaction – no matter what. Every single effect within our world, upon the earth, has a cause, an original starting point. This concept is woven throughout every thread of our societies. This is demonstrated in the experiments we do in middle school physical science class and even in the inevitable moment when we begin giving our children long lectures on the “natural consequences” of their choices. Cause and effect are everywhere.
So, what happens when hundreds, thousands, or even millions of us begin taking similar action? Is the impact compounded? Does the impact of our collective action grow with the addition of every new individual action? The answer is yes. What we choose to do – or choose not to do – matters.
It is not uncommon today to hear or read about the countless ways the last few years have impacted us as individuals, communities, and our world as a whole. They have been a glaring reminder of how something small can make a massive impact on our world. But at times, I wonder if, in our crisis and loss, we have forgotten that the same is true for actions that do good?
Have we….have you….lost faith in our ability to make a difference?
A few weeks ago, we shared some statistics on the global impact of the pandemic on poverty. According to the World Bank, over 100 million more people worldwide have fallen into extreme poverty since the pandemic began. The UN estimates that the pandemic set us back globally by at least a decade of progress toward alleviating poverty. This news is devastating. It feels a little bit like 2 steps forward and 3 steps back. But what if these statistics aren’t the whole story? What if it is more like 4 steps forward and 1 step back? Would that change our perspective?
Since we began partnering in Ferrier, Haiti, in 2012, the progress has been significant. Our work together with local leader Jean Alix Paul has been a catalyst for transformation in the community and region. What started as a trafficking prevention effort has since grown into high-quality education opportunities for over 600 students each year from pre-school through secondary school, business empowerment for 190 families, and the creation of over 100 jobs. Multiple restorative community care initiatives have led to the rescue of 58 children from trafficking, the reunification of 19 children with their families, the provision of clean water access to an entire community, the development of an agricultural training program, over 1 million meals served, spiritual mentorship of hundreds of families, and so much more.
This impact has collectively changed the landscape of the Ferrier community and much of the northeast region of Haiti. It has created a ripple effect where cycles of poverty can be broken for generations to come. It is creating sustained impact from within as the community moves toward flourishing and opportunity.
All of this has happened because we, as individuals, chose to take action together.
Throughout the pandemic, Help One Now’s partner communities faced countless challenges. School closures, natural disasters, conflict, resource shortages, and rising costs are only a few examples of what we have faced together. While the challenges have been immense, they have been met with resilience, brilliant local leadership, and the unwavering collective support of committed donors like you. These communities are pushing forward and sustaining the progress and impact we have fostered together over the last decade – 4 steps forward, 1 step back, and forward again, together. Schools have reopened and are closing gaps in education, families are keeping their businesses afloat, and we have witnessed many beautiful stories of individuals and families overcoming adversity.
What if the actions of you and I really are making a difference? Not just in one family or community, but in multiple communities and around the world.
Globally, because of our action and the collective action of people like you and me…
- The number of children with access to education has steadily increased over the last 100 years and continues to rise daily (World Bank).
- The number of people with jobs worldwide rose from 2.28 billion to 3.32 billion between 1991 and 2022.
- Between 1990 and 2015, the percentage of undernourished people fell from 23.2% to 12.9% globally – nearly half! (Statista)
- In 1990 more than 35% of people worldwide were living in extreme poverty. In 2017, it was less than 10% (World Bank)
The last few years have been devastating for the most vulnerable in our world. We have seen some setbacks in the progress we have worked so hard to make together. It has taken everything these past two years to sustain the work in our partner communities, and we have some healing and recovery to do. It is now time to push forward into a season where we can begin to grow and expand our impact again together. You and I CAN make a difference.
We invite you to rekindle your faith in your ability to make a difference. Whether that’s donating, hosting a party with a purpose, sharing about Help One Now with a friend, or spending time together with our partners on a trip, We need you to take action today as we come together again and push forward into progress.
In Martin Luther King Jr.’s words, “We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.”