Project Updates

Empowering Nations with The 410 Bridge

November 4, 2018

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Ever wonder how exactly your donation is being used when you give to a cause that stirs your heart? Curious to know whether the approach you’re supporting truly makes a long-term, sustainable impact? Me too. I often struggle with the complexity of how to give in a healthy way, while truly knowing my support is doing the good I hope for. It’s this ever-present question that has led me to dig deeper with the intention of trying to understand how to truly help the poor. You see, by learning about different approaches of poverty alleviation, we can begin to build conclusions about our own personal giving strategies. Read on, as I share how an organization is giving in a healthy way and ways we can get involved in driving large impact!

For those who have been following along, you already know we all play a part in either helping or hurting the poor, depending upon our approach. For those just joining the conversation, check out last month’s story, “How to help the poor without hurting them”. There, we discovered a new lens of helping those in need by focusing on their unique gifts and allowing them to lead their own development through those gifts. This month, we’ll get to see an example of an organization whose mission is to restore dignity, purpose and freedom to the poor through community development. They live and breathe this way of poverty alleviation, and it’s working!!

The 410 Bridge logo

How do they do it?

The 410 Bridge works in the development phase of poverty alleviation, focusing on specific communities, one at a time. They start by first establishing a leadership council within the community, comprised of local community members who best know the assets and needs of their community. This leadership council then works with The 410 Bridge to conduct a formal community assessment of those assets and needs. From there, they together formulate a development plan, prioritizing their greatest needs while also utilizing their greatest strengths, and carefully creating a plan to incrementally bring the community to a place of self-sustainability. At this point they begin to work the plan! 410 Bridge and their partners come alongside the community to help them achieve their goals. This is the part I find so fascinating, because 410 Bridge truly puts the needs of the community first. If we take a quick moment to read through their principles, we’ll see how their approach is unique.

The 410 Bridge principles

Specifically, I find these to be quite profound and certainly descriptive of what I experienced on the ground in Haiti when I visited this past summer. I think they’re worth highlighting again!

  • “We are committed to being ‘pulled’ by the community versus ‘pushing’ Western-driven solutions.”
  • “We will not move faster than the community, and not force the community to move faster than they are capable.”
  • “We measure our success by what a community does for themselves, not what we do for them.”
5 areas of focus

As The 410 Bridge comes alongside the leadership council, they ensure these 5 key areas of development are considered and incrementally incorporated into the development plan as the team determines the need. They begin with the greatest need first and build up to self-sustainability. You know what’s so amazing about all of it? They’ve already helped bring communities to sustainability within 10 years. 10 YEARS! That’s such a short time period compared to the unending number of years organizations provide continual aid to the same areas year-after-year. Right?


Development Priorities

These are the development priorities identified for the community we visited, La Beyi, Haiti. (courtesy of 410 Bridge's website)

development priorities

BTW - We have a chance to help with the top priority, but more on that in a moment! 🙂

Another big part of 410 Bridge’s model is to build relationships with those they serve through mission trips! The intent of these mission trips is not to do for them, but to do with them. Rather than completing projects, the trips focus on learning about their culture, encouraging them and building relationships with them. Why? Watch this 4 minute video. It’s an amazing summary of 410 Bridge’s work and the short-term mission trip experience. It’s so worth your time! The trips are an opportunity to slow down and have fellowship with each other. After all, the Chalmer’s Center said it best, “Never in the history of man have we been able to travel and have these opportunities to get to know and see how families live”. It’s our time to ask questions. Read here to learn more about their culture and the people we met!

Our desire was to build long-term relationships within the community of La Beyi, so we can support initiatives they lead over time. Upon returning, I shared stories about the people we met, their incredible grit, and their selfless giving. I also committed that as I learned of ways to help I’d keep you in the loop. Read on!


Unique Opportunity

We have a unique opportunity to walk alongside of La Beyi and support their development. 🙌

1.) The 410 Bridge has confirmed that La Beyi’s greatest first need is to have safe drinking water. The community has one hand pump well - They used to have two, but one was destroyed during Hurricane Matthew…Some families drink from the nearby stream. Others drink from the well. Regardless, both are contaminated and make them sick.

The left photo is their current well. BTW - That’s my hubby pumping the water to help our friend clean the pot she used to cook our food!

On the right is a photo of what their well could look like.

woman pumping water from a well to clean a pot
people by water well

When we visited a nearby community, Figuier, we saw how this well is helping them live healthier, more vibrant lives! It was neat to witness La Beyi’s need and then see a solution to their need in a neighboring community. It paints a tangible picture of their future! Watch this 1 minute video I captured of my team member explaining the well and what it’s doing for their community. He helped raise the $75k it took to build this well and explains how it works, as well as describes how the local people are able to maintain it with the funds it’s generating. It’s much more sophisticated than a hand pump well (hence the cost) and even chlorinates the water to keep it safe for drinking!

2.) We’re creating a group called “Friends of La Beyi” - This is for anyone who’d like to help support La Beyi. This will be a group of people who want to come alongside La Beyi throughout their development over the long-haul, or for those who simply want to support for a short time period or even once. All is needed! The Sky’s the limit too! There’s opportunity to get involved across the spectrum - from a small one-time donation to joining our fundraising team to joining a trip to visit our La Beyi friends in person!

3.) We’re in the midst of planning a trip back to Haiti in 2019, likely to La Beyi! This is an opportunity to experience 410 Bridge’s unique model in person and more importantly, make friends with the beautiful people of Haiti. It truly is an incredible experience, especially since the trip is so focused on learning from and building relationships with the people there.

There you have it! I’ve just shared the first large-scale initiatives Lovelight stories is supporting and you can join-in knowing your support is creating long-term, sustainable impact - because you know how the impact is made AND you even have an opportunity to go see it!

Want to join us?

Here’s how:

  • Join our fundraising page for a water well in La Beyi - It’s really neat! You can join as an individual to help raise funds, join our “Friends of La Beyi” team, or create your own team! You can also give a one-time donation too. I’m excited about this, because it’s a collaboration tool that allows us to take part no-matter where we live, at any level we wish!
  • Joining Friends of La Beyi can be more than just raising funds - I want to hear from you. If this stirs your heart, let’s collaborate. Comment below or drop me a line!
  • Interested in visiting Haiti next year? Let me know, and I’ll make sure you receive notice to apply for the trip once details are finalized. Applying is the first step, so don’t worry if you need to think about it. If you’re interested just let me know!
  • Don’t forget to share this with others you know! Water for an entire community is only $75k away. We can do it! Together.

Any questions?

I’m always here. And I’ll be updating you on La Beyi’s progress over time too!

Stephanie Jacobs | Storyteller & Advocate for Social Justice

Explore more categories:  Mission Travel, Nonprofits, Project Updates

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