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spring 2012

in this issue Features 2 6 Visit a Village Village Spotlight: Fonds Verrettes, Haiti 7 Finding Love in a Hopeless Place

Villagers gather For worship at a church in FonDs Verrettes, haiti.

Departments Director’s Corner Breaking News

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Village saVings anD loan: FinDing loVe in a hopeless place By Aly lewis, Staff Writer and Grant Specialist

My name is Aly Lewis and I have a disease, an awful “ism” that affects my daily life. Cynicism. even after four years of working at this incredible organization doing incredible things with incredible people, i still get cynical. i still find myself asking questions like: Can the poor really save money? Can things really change? Does my contribution really matter? one of the regions that most elicits our cynical questions and commentaries and eye rolling is Haiti, specifically, the border region connecting Haiti and the Dominican republic. this area is plagued not only with poverty, disease, and environmental destruction, but a widespread current of intolerance, anger, and misunderstanding between the two nationalities making this area one of the most volatile places in the world. From the outside, the border region is a 2

hopeless place. But, i’m learning, this is not the end of the story. in the last year, Plant with Purpose launched an innovative Village Savings and Loan pilot project in the Dominican republic, including a cluster of villages along the border with Haiti. this project is proving you can find love and hope in the most unlikely places. in just one year, individuals and communities have experienced incredible growth and transformation. Nearly 300 people in the border region joined 14 new VSL groups. these self-selected groups pool their own money to offer loans to group members, thus growing their own savings through interest paid on these loans. these 14 groups alone have already saved $4,831 (amazing when you consider that most people make less than a $1 a day here), and their capacity continues to grow each week. My cynicism falters as i read the stories of hope, transformation, and reconciliation that are taking place as destitute commu-

nities come together to engage in an unbelievable endeavor: saving money. But don’t take my word for it. indulge in the firsthand accounts below, and see if you too don’t find your cynicism slipping away as you read. “We were skeptical of the VSL methodology during the first cycle, but when we cashed out and saw that every peso was accounted for, we were stunned! That motivated us. Now the group believes in the methodology and in ourselves. We never thought that we had the capacity to save so much money,” said Jose agustin Ventura Valdez, a VSL Coordinator from the village of el Zamo. Now in their second cycle, Jose’s group is on track to save $10,000. Not bad for a group of poor farmers. an even greater area of transformation is the growing reconciliation and unity between Haitians and Dominicans. in VSL groups specifically, Haitians and Dominicans, men and women, join together to save money, improve their income, and gain a greater understanding and


appreciation for each other. one VSL group called “active women” in the village of angel Feliz is comprised of an equal mix of Haitian and Dominican women, providing a practical space for them to develop trust with each other and overcome deepseated racism. another women’s group in Sabana real called “women for Progress” is experiencing the same kind of transformation. “The greatest benefits of the group are unity, sharing experiences and knowledge, and learning to be more disciplined and to listen to each other.

Everyone has a right to express her opinion. There is more trust. When someone has a headache, everyone has a headache,” shared group leader Yoselyn. these courageous men and women, Jose and Yoselyn and the women of angel Feliz and Sabana real, are teaching me that the answer to my heartfelt questions - Can the poor really save money? Can things really change? Does my contribution really matter? - is a resourceful and resounding YeS. at Plant with Purpose, we’ve learned that, yes,

the issues are complex and, yes, cynicism can creep in, but there is a greater yes and a greater hope. the poor can save.things can change.You can make a difference. one person at a time. one savings group at a time. one village at a time. You can find love in a hopeless place. Because the truth is, no place and no person is ever truly hopeless. For just $1 a day, you can Sponsor A Village and equip communities to make unlikely progress in unlikely places. Visit our website www.plantwithpurpose.org to learn more.

www.PLaNtwitHPurPoSe.org

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Director’s corner By sCOTT sABiN, Executive Director

in February, we hosted two members of our tanzanian board at the uS office. it was a reminder of the talent and diversity within the team that makes up Plant with Purpose, as well as the amazing way god uses all of us to bring hope and healing to the people and places we serve. Pastor winford Mosha, who chairs the board in tanzania, grew up in the Kilimanjaro region, where we work. He studied to be an elementary school teacher but after teaching for five years, he felt god calling him into the pastorate. in 1980 he became a Lutheran pastor, embarking on a varied career which included serving in a parish in Marangu, teaching theology, running the diaconal center, and starting a school for the physically disabled. Most recently he was promoted to a position where he is responsible for overseeing 44 parishes. Pastor Mosha first heard about Plant with Purpose eight years ago when a neighbor in the village of Mshiri began to benefit from the program. Shortly

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thereafter he joined the board and has been involved ever since. Pastor Mosha brought with him to San Diego one of our newest board members, ruwaichi John Kereth. John is a young attorney, also from Mshiri, where he grew up in an impoverished farm family and attended Pastor Mosha’s church. one of the best students in tanzania, he did so well on his exams that he received scholarships to secondary school, college, and law school. He served an internship with the united Nations, working with the international Criminal tribunal for rwanda. recently he established his own very successful law firm in arusha; however, he feels a deep commitment to the region he grew up in and is bringing his talents to serve Plant with Purpose’s work in tanzania. it was wonderful to have them with us in San Diego. i personally enjoyed the opportunity to observe some of the peculiarities of uS culture through the eyes of others seeing it for the first time. But the highlight for many of us was when Pastor Mosha led devotions for the staff on Friday morning. using 1

Corinthians 3:4-8 as his text, he reminded us that while one plants and another waters, it is god who causes the growth. in the case of Plant with Purpose, both the local teams and the uS team have a role, but it is god who brings about the transformation in the lives of people, in the villages, and in the watersheds. as i reflected on these words, i thought of how they apply to all of us. our donors and those who volunteer and pray with us here in the uS are also planting, watering, and nurturing. indeed, you are as much a part of this diverse team that god has assembled as we are or as the local board or the local staff. god uses us all together to bring about something much greater than what any one of us could accomplish alone. thank you for being a partner in transformation.

Scott Sabin Executive Director


join us for the planting hope gala

october 13, 2012 th

paraDise point resort

escape with us on Saturday, october 13, 2012 as we gather to invest in the lives of the rural poor with an evening of education, celebration, and giving. Paradise Point resort will be our location, but our destinations will be many! Stay tuned for more details. if you’d like to donate an auction item, please contact Becky rosaler at becky@plantwithpurpose.org.

Breaking news

the lawn outside our office. Check our website for more details.

58: gloBal impact tour

Fresh Breath For a Better worlD

Last year Plant with Purpose was invited to join a movement of like-minded organizations with the end goal to eliminate extreme poverty by living out isaiah 58. Many of you have seen the full-length movie that focuses on issues of poverty around the world and how as believers, we are called to a fast that is pleasing to the Lord and breaks the chains of oppression. 2012 holds something new for Live 58: the global impact tour. 12 Months, 12 Projects, 12 Countries will be visited and funded by uniting, praying, fasting, and giving. Plant with Purpose will be featured during the month of april. Join us as we celebrate earth Day, complete a project in the Dominican republic, and share the news that with the degradation of the environment, the rural poor suffer. In honor of our Global Impact Tour Month, we will be hosting a screening of the 58 Movie. April 13 at 7:00pm – Plant With Purpose US Office, San Diego Bring a blanket, beach chair and jacket, as we will be showing the movie under the stars on

“Save the earth” and save your breath this april by picking up Project 7’s cool mints and wintergreen gum at walmart. each purchase means we can plant more trees in Haiti. Chew for a better world.

earth Day - april 22, 2012 “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it.” Psalms 24:1 thousands of people will be gathering at Balboa Park from 10:00am-5:00pm for the largest, free environmental fair in the world and Plant with Purpose will be participating in the excitement. if you’re in San Diego, come and join the festivities! otherwise, find a local event near you and celebrate the creativity of our Creator on april 22.

get your groupon Did you know that groupon has a branch of giving? Plant with Purpose will be a featured charity this spring. each dollar given will plant a tree in Haiti. our fundraising goal is $1,000, but your impact will be doubled because of a generous match-

ing donation from the S.g. Foundation. groupon, you, S.g. Foundation, and 2,000 trees in Haiti!

ways to get inVolVeD •

Like us on Facebook or follow us on twitter.

Subscribe to our blog: plantwithpurpose. org/blog to keep up with the buzz.

Become an advocate. Visit plantwithpurpose.org/take-action and find ways to help us spread the word in your community.

intern or volunteer at Plant with Purpose. Contact emily@plantwithpurpose.org.

the sower issue #95 The Sower is published quarterly by Plant with Purpose.

editor-in-Chief aly Lewis aly@plantwithpurpose.org 4903 Morena Blvd. Suite 1215 San Diego, Ca 92117 Ph: (800) 633-5319 Fax: (858) 274-3728 email: info@plantwithpurpose.org www.plantwithpurpose.org Please consider including Plant With Purpose in your wills and bequests.

www.PLaNtwitHPurPoSe.org

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Visit a Village

Last May, two brothers, Mat and Michael Clouse, along with their family, took a trip down south to visit our programs in Oaxaca, Mexico. Each year Plant With Purpose leads trips for our partners to see the impact of our work firsthand. We’ve asked Mat and Michael to share some of their thoughts and reflections about their trip. growing up in the united States, it can be pretty easy to take our daily provisions for granted. our food is so readily available at grocery stores and restaurants that we rarely have to consider its abundance or its origins. the same thing applies to our perception of water. Practically speaking, whether living in San Diego or oklahoma City, it really doesn’t matter if there is a drought because our water travels from hundreds of miles away before it gushes forth with relatively little effort and expense on our part. there is a disconnect that separates us from thinking about where these provisions come from because of the ease with which we enjoy them. on our trip to oaxaca, Mexico, Plant with Purpose showed us firsthand just how connected we actually are to the environment. For the majority of the world, water doesn’t travel conveniently in pipes and faucets for easy and expedient use. the livelihoods of those we visited depend heavily on their ability to access and retain water for drinking, cooking, wash6

ing, and watering crops. it didn’t take long on our trip for us to see hillside after hillside of severely damaged landscapes before we really began to understand the depth of environmental degradation in oaxaca and the impact this has on each family living there. we saw the daunting and widespread effects of deforestation and the over planting of cash crops, which leads to a reduced water table and depleted soil, decreasing the ability of these subsistence farmers to provide for their families. thankfully the story of our trip doesn’t end there. with each community visited and each farmer we met, we glimpsed the sense of ownership, empowerment, and transformation that was growing all across the mountains of oaxaca. immense hope became evident. in visiting oaxaca, we realized that the work Plant with Purpose is doing is not instant gratification, but is a selfless effort to bring hope and prosperity for generations to come. through the relationships that Plant with Purpose is building in communities, we saw how the lives of the rural poor in oaxaca are changing, and we will never forget their hospitality and eagerness to share with us how their lives had improved. to see firsthand the empowerment that grew from the education and knowledge that

Plant with Purpose is sharing was truly remarkable and such a blessing to witness. this Vision trip helped us better understand the complex connection between poverty and the environment for the rural poor and the importance of walking alongside these individuals to encourage and empower them. we saw how Plant with Purpose seeks transformation and witnesses to the story of Christ and the restoration of His people. the experience was beautiful and life changing.

if you haven’t visited one of Plant with Purpose’s programs yet, we’d love for you to prayerfully consider participating in one of the trips listed below. Contact Doug Satre for more information at doug@plantwithpurpose.org or call (800) 633-5319.

upcoming Vision trips october 22-27, 2012 - oaxaca, Mexico March 2013 - tanzania april 25-30, 2013 - Dominican republic June 2013 - thailand


Village spotlight:

fonds Verrettes, haiti By Jimmy lee, Development Associate

organic pesticiDe Demonstration ViDeo

Mr. remon Jean is an entrepreneurial farmer and member of the Barasa farmers group in Fonds Verrettes, a mountainous region in southeastern Haiti that is only 1.5 miles away from the border of the Dominican republic. Since partnering with Plant with Purpose, Mr. Jean has attended workshops on sustainable agricultural techniques, soil conservation, and community savings and loan projects. By applying the skills that he’s learned, Mr. Jean hopes to establish a thriving agroforestry plot on his farmland. He says, “one day, i will sit and enjoy my very own forest and watch the birds come to sing.” So far, Mr. Jean has planted sugar cane, kapap, grevillea, loquat, lime, grapefruit, banana, and avocado trees on his farm. Mr. Jean has also learned to make his own organic compost. while this may not sound like a glamorous endeavor, composting has allowed him to save

money, boost his farm output, and increase his profit margin. Mr. Jean has ten organic compost piles that he uses to nourish his own crops and sells to his neighbors. Mr. Jean is also an avid participant in the organic pesticide project introduced by Plant with Purpose to his community. the high costs of commercial pesticides eat into any profits that local farmers make after selling their crops. Sometimes, the price of the pesticides would be 1000% more expensive than the organic pesticides that Mr. Jean could create at home! with the ingredients of the organic pesticide– such as sour/bitter leaves, pepper, garlic, soap, and water– being items easily found on his own farm, Mr. Jean finds this project both economically and environmentally beneficial.

bors. He charges slightly more to his farmers group members who have received the pesticide training than to non-members, since he believes that his group members should be able to produce the pesticides themselves instead of relying on him. From the extra money he has made from selling compost and organic pesticides, Mr. Jean purchased chickens and rabbits for his farm, which provide his family with eggs and sources of protein. Mr. Jean eventually hopes to purchase more animals such as goats, cows, and horses and allow them to roam freely on his small agroforestry farm in Fonds Verrettes. Visit our website, www.plantwithpurpose. org, or fill out the attached remit slip to learn how you can Sponsor a Village in Haiti for just $1 a day.

always the entrepreneur, Mr. Jean also sells the organic pesticide that he creates to his neighwww.PLaNtwitHPurPoSe.org

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Plant With Purpose 4903 Morena Blvd. Suite 1215 San Diego, Ca 92117 Ph: (800) 633-5319 Fax: (858) 274-3728

NoN-Profit org U.S. PoStage Paid Permit 751 SaN diego Ca

email: info@plantwithpurpose.org www.plantwithpurpose.org

can the poor really saVe money? can things really change? does my contribution really matter? find out inside‌

catch the Vision reflections on a Visit to oaxaca

plant with purpose giVes hope to chilDren anD Families in nor lae, thailanD.

inVesting in the Dreams oF the poor

2012 Spring Sower  

Plant With Purpose's quarterly newsletter -- The Sower

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