Finally, you have implemented the programs and services of your non-profit organization. Your intention to help your beneficiaries is pure, but how long can you do the things that they can actually learn to do for themselves? Maybe it’s time to teach them how to fish – how to be self-reliant.
Before you can tell them that they actually need to stand on their own, you might as well change your own perspective about them. For some reasons, you might have this notion that “I am a benefactor and my project here is to give money for this community.” or “this group of people that we are funding are poor and helpless, they can do nothing if we do not provide funds.” Perhaps you could see things the other way around, “The beneficiaries of this project that we are sponsoring have a huge potential of becoming self-reliant.” Believe that if you have the capacity to fund them, that they are equally capable too as humans to become independent.
It is only when you have personally taken away your doubts in their potential, then you can help them accept their situation. If you are a sponsor, it won’t hurt a little if you could join your beneficiaries in a simple activity like a boodle fight on a Christmas party. If they are involved in growing vegetables in their garden, you may ask them to teach you how to do it. This way, they can feel that they have something to impart also, that they also have something to share.
Make them believe in themselves too. You can share to the students in a rural community your experiences and the obstacles that you overcame before you achieve your profession, tell them that they too can be doctors, lawyers, engineers, or artists when they grow up. Help them trust that they can achieve it. Many of these beneficiaries have given up on their dreams and aspirations because they think it is impossible. However, if they can feel that someone has faith in them and more importantly shows them that someone just like them has done it before, then they will start believing again.
Most of us have heard the old saying: “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for life.” We realize their dream of being self-sufficient when they have the means to support for themselves. Provide sewing machines to some of the women in your sponsored community, give them trainings, so they could start their small tailoring shop. Train the men in the community to learn the basics of carpentry, provide them toolboxes, surely they would help themselves around.
Instead of just sitting around the corner and waiting for the monthly financial support or activities of your organization, these people whom you have taught of some simple skills will give them the confidence that they could place food on their table through their own labor.
Giving them the materials and teaching them the necessary skills when backed up by opportunities to apply what they have learned will result to independence. Why not ask the local government unit to provide for exhibits in the public events where your community could display their woven basket products and sell them to the market. Maybe provide for a stall in the public market where they could sell the crops from their vegetable gardens.
Work with them as they are starting out, later you can have them in their own support groups and seek to do things on their own. These simple ways will not only assist them in becoming self-reliant, but most especially, self-fulfilled.