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SDOP is not about charity

By Cynthia E White


Presbyterian Self-Development of People is not about charity…

It’s about…

…having a decent home, food on the table, the ability to send your children to school. Walking with Marjorie from her home to the Sandy Beach restaurant/conference center in Hopkins Village you know it’s not about charity because charity is not a part of her thought process.   Marjorie in her early 80s has been a part of the Sandy Beach Women’s Cooperative in Hopkins Village since its inception in 1984. She proudly shares that the Cooperative made it possible for her to have that decent home, to feed her family and to put her son through college.  With determination and pride this group of Garifuna women have maintained the Cooperative for 31 years.  Now they are involving young men and women to pass the torch. Sandy Beach Women’s Cooperative is a community partner of the Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People. The Department of Cooperatives in Belize recently awarded SDOP an award of appreciation for distinguished contributions to the development of cooperative enterprises in that country.

…human rights, economic development; it’s about a people celebrating their heritage.  Long conversations with Beverly about the struggle of Native American women in eastern North Carolina clearly show it’s not about charity. Beverly is a member of the Three Sisters Cooperative & Cannery Initiative the first Native American woman’s cooperative in North Carolina.  Working with local farmers the women are passing on the skills of cannery while at the same expanding economic opportunities for themselves, the farmers and other locals in the community.  The Cooperative recently awarded SDOP the Compassionate Service Award for 2015 at their 15th Annual Walking in Many Worlds Conference.  


…jobs, having the ability to take care of yourself and contribute to the well-being of your family.   For members of E.P.O.C.A. (Ex-prisoners and Prisoners Organizing for Community Advancement) winning the “band the box” legislation in Massachusetts was a major victory.  This meant when filling out job applications persons were no longer discriminated against because of having a record.  They are given a fair chance to pursue the job.  For the men and women in E.P.O.C.A. it’s not about charity, it is about wanting a decent job.

Self-Development of People is not about charity. It is about human dignity, self-reliance and community growth.  It is about the empowerment of people. This is a ministry that affirms God’s concern for humankind.  As one of the ministries of the OGHS offering your generous and continued support is making a difference. Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and Presbyterian Hunger Program are the other ministries of the Offering.


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