Partnership is at the heart of our work. At Our Village a major goal is to have people coming together from all walks of life, fighting and struggling together for a better future for this generation and generations to come. Poverty can no longer be thought of as an isolated incident happening on a distant corner of the globe. The amazing advances in technology in recent decades permit rapid intercontinental travel and have vastly expanded the definition of “our neighbor”; the distant lands of the past are now neighboring lands. Poverty ultimately effects all of us today, and to address this need properly we need a change in thought and habit. Nelson Mandela put it like this: “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice.”
Our Village believes that self-empowerment of individuals arises through education, skills training, and relationship building - with all endeavors permeated by the love of Jesus Christ. Although it is necessary in the short term to have resources, skills, and money brought from outside of an area afflicted with poverty, a long term goal is to create a self-sustainable organization which is locally ran and led. Therefore, we seek to distance ourselves from practices or ideas that foster an unhealthy dependence on “free gifts”. We insist that the guardians of the children at Our Village help in any way they are able, and we want to encourage confidence and a good work ethic in the children as well. A delicate balance of assistance and independence is necessary – the reality is that the children at Our Village, like all children, need assistance in a variety of forms. Our Village is only one part of this assistance, the guardians another, the community another, and government institutions yet another. We do not want the children at Our Village to think that the generous donations from Canadians are what they should place all of their hope in. Rather, donations are to be thought of as part of a larger whole which seeks to build each child up into their greatest potential. Monetary assistance from abroad is simply the starting point to “get the ball rollin'”. We expect “the ball” to get much bigger and to take on a different form in the future.
We prefer the use of the word “partnership” rather than “sponsorship” in order to promote a new perspective on the monetary assistance Canadians are providing at Our Village. Partnership implies a team effort, and helps to avoid misleading connotations attached to traditional words like sponsorship. Also, partnership is distinct from sponsorship in that monthly donations from individuals are not directed towards a specific child. Rather, contributions from individuals will often go towards supporting the organization as a whole, and Our Village in turn provides a breakdown in percentages of where the donations are being directed (the percentage breakdown may differ according to whether or not the donation is a part of a regular [i.e. monthly] donation or if it is a single one-time donation). Additionally, this model allows each donor to establish their own level of monthly contribution, which can be adjusted as the donor sees fit.