Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Reflections by Rhea

In three words, Project FOCUS’ mission is to Educate, Inspire, and Empower. But when I sit back, exhale, and really think about our organization, one word stands out the most: Community.

That is what drew me to Project FOCUS, it is what keeps me inspired, and it is what makes me proud to be part of this group of people.

Everything that we do is with communities, not for communities. Everything we do is with the intention of empowering people to create their own change, both in the United States and in Uganda. We work to build sustainable relationships that lead to sustainable projects.

Too often communities are lost within the grand scheme of international development. Organizations forget that the people who are the most capable of developing long term, sustainable solutions are the people who actually live in the communities themselves. They forget that U.S. solutions cannot be applied to Ugandan problems. They forget that endless grant money, a bottomless pit of inspired volunteers, and even the best intentions are pointless without community involvement.

We are different, and that is what I love about Project FOCUS; our relationship building, meaningful conversations, honest friendships, community partnerships, equal collaboration, and long term solutions.

Project FOCUS is not always the most efficient organization. We do not have the most experience, and we certainly do not have the most funding.

But what inspires me about this group is the process we choose to follow. The intentional, well thought out, endlessly discussed decisions that are always made with the Ugandan community at the forefront of our minds.

What inspires me is the people within the communities that we support and are supported by. Inspired, visionary individuals throughout two countries who are actively looking for ways to shape their lives, to come together and change systems bigger than themselves. To change mentalities; to impact their communities; to create their futures.


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