We have exciting plans to make your mochas matter this coming year. Our local leaders on the ground spent the past few months dreaming up ways to fight extreme poverty in their communities and here’s just a little of what you can expect this year:
- A completed water well in Malawi, providing clean water to 200 households.
- 18 new asset-based development courses, teaching local leaders how to dream and plan for their communities.
- Trauma-healing groups in four different Congolese communities for children who have experienced the trauma of war.
- About 100 students from Kenyan slums receiving a secondary school education.
- A farming project in Congo providing a sustainable source of food for an orphanage in Goma.
- Around 40 new women being rehabilitated from a life stuck in the sex trade in Ethiopia.
You’ll notice that a few of the things on our list for 2018 revolve around trauma-healing. And it may give you pause. Isn’t that what professional counselors are for? Why do our local leaders consider this part of a plan to fight poverty? How exactly can my mochas matter through such an intangible means? Aren’t things like education and healthcare and orphan care more impactful and urgent in fighting poverty?
All good and valid questions. But here’s why our local leaders choose this as form of intervention and poverty alleviation: Trauma-healing is healthcare. It is orphan care. It is education. It is economic development. And it is something highly relevant in war-torn countries like Congo and South Sudan where we work.
How is it all those things? Take our Congolese Country Director for example. In 2017, Denis worked to train a group of community leaders how to identify and address trauma in children. Then those leaders went back to their communities and implemented what they learned — one is a director at a primary school who began “healing clubs” for the kids in his school, one lives near an IDP camp and created a support group for traumatized children in the camp, one gathered a group of police and soldiers and taught them how to better identify and respond to the children they encounter in their jobs.
The children at that primary school now have access to mental and emotional healthcare that will be vital to their ability to develop and continue their education in a school environment. The children in that IDP camp may be orphans who have witnessed unimaginable violence and now have a “family” to support them. The children who come into contact with these members of the police force will benefit from someone in a position of authority who understands them and can see past their actions. All of these things are necessary foundations from which to fight extreme and generational poverty — growing a generation of children capable of flourishing despite their trauma and becoming compassionate adults actively rebuilding their communities, economically, physically, and emotionally. This isn’t possible when that generation is bogged down by extreme trauma.
As a part of Mocha Club, you are a force behind this process. Your mochas make each of these things possible. They reach children, they reach influential adults and community leaders, and they impact the future in ways you can’t even imagine. You are fighting extreme poverty by alleviating the trauma that stands in the way of development.
(And don’t worry — part of training these local leaders is helping them recognize the limits of their abilities as lay leaders and know when to turn it over to professionals to avoid doing any harm.)