A few days ago, I was chatting with a friend of A Chance In Life. He was elaborating on an interesting theory about the impact of development work and argued that only macro-level projects can have a truly meaningful social impact. It was because of this, he added, that he did not want to sponsor a child with us and would prefer to wait for a larger project to support. In his opinion, that’s how you break the cycle of poverty.
Or maybe not ...
At A Chance In Life, we pursue both approaches, offering services to individuals while advocating for broader societal change. But I am a strong advocate of our sponsorship program. It allows donors like you to provide a chance in life to an unknown child who would never get an education without your help. In some cases, they may not even get the food or medical care they need to survive. Instead, with your support, any one of these children can grow up to be an agent of change and impact the lives of their entire community.
Fr. Teshome is the national director of our program in Ethiopia. Many years ago, he was a barefoot child just like the ones we serve now. He was sponsored by a donor just like you. He grew up, became a priest and earned a doctoral degree from a Vatican university. He could have easily stayed in Rome with a prestigious job for the Holy See, but he never forgot the chance in life he was given. He returned to his village in rural Ethiopia and began working to improve the lives of thousands of people. He helped build 300 kilometers of water pipelines, bringing water to remote villages so that hundreds of young girls could attend school instead of spending hours carrying water from the river to their homes. He built also schools, clinics and homes for destitute families.
In 2015, when A Chance In Life was looking to expand its programs outside of Italy for the first time in 70 years, Fr. Teshome let us know exactly where and how we could make the biggest difference in the lives of those in his community. Through Boys’ & Girls’ Towns of Ethiopia, Fr. Teshome has helped ensure almost 500 young people have been given a chance in life each year. Recently, Fr. Teshome was promoted to a national position within the Ethiopian Catholic Church. He is now responsible for humanitarian projects across the entire country, serving thousands of people and making macro-level, societal change.
All this was possible because someone, so many years ago, was willing to give a chance in life to a young boy they'd never met.
I may be wrong ... or maybe not ...