“Employment and economic development, not handouts, are the most effective and lasting ways of addressing physical and spiritual poverty.”
Economic self-sustainability is a necessary component to any organization’s or program’s long-term results and successes. Orphan and at-risk community care projects are not an exception to this rule. To have any chance at long-term success, there needs to be real ownership and buy-in by the community serving and being served by the project. This “ownership” and “buy-in” can come through revenue-generating businesses, other entrepreneurial ventures, and “sweat equity” in various ways. The important thing is that it happens so that the project does not reinforce a dependency on outsiders that is ingrained in so much of the developing world.
In seeking self-sustainability, we want to be clear that we are seeking economic, not relational self-sustainability. In fact, as our community integration prong discusses, deep and authentic relationships along with collaboration are critical to a healthy community and development toward self-sustainability.
Providence is working on several self-sustainability projects at La Providencia, such as a coffee farm, a vegetable garden, a store, a retreat center, sliding-scale tuition at Academia La Providencia, and sliding-scale payments at the John Eaves Medical Clinic. Read more at the La Providencia site about these projects and how La Providencia is working with churches and individual businessmen to work toward self-sustainability.