Celebrate hope …
‘Bring forth justice to the nations’ - Isaiah 42.1-10A
Photos and story by Cynthia White
The “Mission Funding Strategy for the International Task Force of the Self-Development of People,” a five year pilot project, has evolved into the “SDOP International Partnership Development Mission Strategy.” The strategy has proven to be an effective way of engaging in partnership with communities in different parts of the world.
In 2005 when Self-Development of People instituted this pilot project the country identified for focused funding was the Dominican Republic. Five years later we are transitioning out of the Dominican Republic. The partnerships established have been about hope, dignity, empowerment, justice and compassion. We now move to Belize, the northern most Central American nation — bordered on the north by Mexico, on the south and west by Guatemala and on the east by the Caribbean Sea.
Belize is a country of contrast. The initial tourist image leads to more complex issues of urban squalor and rural poverty. The rural poverty is especially prevalent in the southern part of the country. The two southern most districts are Stann Creek and Toledo. Our first visits to Belize have been educational, particularly relating to Stann Creek and Toledo. These two districts are where you find the greatest poverty; it is also where the majority of indigenous people live — the Mayan and Garifuna. These are districts rich in culture; the people are warm, friendly and confident in their ability to face life’s challenges, both old and new ones, together making a better world for themselves, their children, communities and country.
Lots more to come as we begin our partnerships in this fascinating country!
Are you a member of a group of low-income persons working on issues of importance to you and your community, will working on these issues result in long-term positive change? Are you in need of financial assistance? Contact SDOP at (502) 569-5782, we would welcome talking with you and possibly hosting a community workshop in your area.
Cynthia White serves as Coordinator for Self Development of People.
NOTE: We are not currently accepting applications from individual groups outside the United States. For more information, contact the SDOP staff.