JBFC: Turning Need into Opportunity

November 21, 2013 8:41 pm Published by

During Chris and my recent fundraising trip, I heard someone refer to Africa as a “bottomless pit” of need.

The phrase snapped me into mental alertness. It didn’t set right with me. And I couldn’t figure out why.

True, there is a lot of need in Africa.

JBFC’s home of Tanzania is one of the most impoverished countries in the world. We, as an organization, are constantly struggling with how we can meet the most need without sacrificing the needs of the people we’re already helping.

But, “bottomless pit”?

And then I realized why the statement didn’t ring true for me.

It’s because that’s not JBFC. That’s not what we’re building in our little corner of the world.

When you give to JBFC, you’re not tossing your dollars into a bottomless pit of need. We’re not just feeding the hungry – which we do, serving 128,000 meals last year – we’re helping a community develop the tools and trades to feed themselves.

At last year’s JBFC fundraiser, we had 15 people buy a tile to purchase chickens for our campus. With that $375 donation, we bought and raised 53 broiler chickens and sold them for $535. That’s a 40% return on their investment.

And that’s just the return on the dollars. That doesn’t count how many people we employ on our farms, who can now provide for their families. That doesn’t count how our 43 girls know more about raising poultry, cooking poultry, and learning how to manage a farm to not only feed themselves, but also turn a profit.

That’s not bottomless need – that’s a priceless opportunity.

I look around our 69-acre campus in Tanzania and I see it time and time again.

Our girls learning restorative agriculture techniques that they’re applying to their own vegetable gardens.

Our Mamas learning new ways to cook, so they can better utilize produce like kale, that’s being grown in our backyard.

Our solar freezer full of meat – just one cow can feed our entire home and employees for six weeks.

Because of your purposeful donations, we haven’t bought any meat or produce in 7 weeks – because we have raised and grown everything we need. And our children are healthier for it.

And the ripple effects don’t stop there – our village has been enriched. Not just because JBFC provides jobs, employing 69 people full-time and another 120 part-time or on a contract basis. No, we’re an employer, we’re a market for goods and services, we’re an educator and training site, and we’re an example of what can be done.

And it’s starting to pay off.

There’s still need. There are still little girls who need homes. There are still too many kids piled into classrooms at our village school.

 But there are also more tin roofs in our village where there only used to be grass huts. Our managers have started their own businesses that are contributing to the Tanzanian economy. Our students are bringing their lessons in nutrition and farming home and they’re growing stronger and better fed.

 Our rising tide is raising all ships.

 And there’s no bottomless pit in sight.

Ashli Sims is JBFCs Director of Development. She joined the team in 2012, after volunteering with the organization for four years. 

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This post was written by Mainsprings