For about the past 6 weeks, I've been meeting with Maman Deborah every Tuesday morning.
Maman Deborah is the leader of Ubuzima - an association for those with HIV/AIDS. I just call her the second 'Mother Theresa'. Compassion oozes from every pore of her being.
In 2004 / 2005 she took training to work with those with HIV/AIDS. When we connected with her in 2006, there were about 80 households in the association and she had no idea why they kept coming back. We knew why. She just loved on them and gave them hope to live. The hope she was giving was Jesus Christ. Interesting that Ubuzima means 'life' in Kinyarwanda.
Since 2005 as have doing our best to encourage her in her leadership of Ubuzima. Over the years we have heard her stuggle and desire to meet more needs but she had no money.
During 2010 we started a sewing and jewelry making project with them. It definitely looks promising as the people of Ubuzima are talented. I have pushed them for quality and they have rose to the occasion. We took a bunch of stuff to Canada with us and sold most all of it.
2011 is the year to build a foundation. 2012 is the year to soar.... we're praying for that.
So my Tuesday mornings... helping Maman Deborah get herself sorted when it comes to all things financial. That included making a budget and then giving her ideas and tools how to manage the money they do receive from donations or by selling their goods. (and giving her a weekly dose of encouragement!)
The huge temptation when there is little money and so much need it to put all the money into the need. But then what? No money to buy the necessary materials to make more money.
I know this will be hard for Maman Deborah as she constantly has people coming to ask for help with their latest crisis - whether that be food, medical bills or school fees for their children. She has always given if she has had money in her pocket.
I know that Maman Deborah 'gets it' about not doing that, having to say no, etc. We'll see what the first couple months bring. We officially rolled this all out for March 1st. Two weeks in and so far so good. Pray for her ... and for me as we walk this journey.
I have great faith that if these changes can happen, Ubuzima will expotentially grow in their ability to meet the needs of those in their association AND they can become sustainable - or at least mostly sustainable.
|Maman Deborah working hard in getting herself sorted|