Perhaps the most powerful weapon humanity has against poverty is micro-enterprise. In developing countries, the term generally refers to small, self-run business ventures, but among non-profits, it means helping the downtrodden help themselves by providing the training and resources necessary for them to do so. When someone becomes the instrument of their own personal advancement, they take pride and ownership of their livelihood and their life.
One of Food For The Poor’s most successful micro-enterprise projects has been the charity’s Banana Bark program, a unique business venture that supplies Haitian men and women with the materials to handcraft beautiful holiday greeting cards from banana tree leaves. By ordering Banana Bark holiday cards, Food For The Poor donors spread seasonal cheer to friends and family members while simultaneously supporting the artists and their families.
Here Food For The Poor Executive Director Angel Aloma recalls witnessing a Banana Bark card operation in Cite Soleil, one of Haiti’s notorious slums:
“We visited one of the agents to whom FFP entrusts the making of our well-known and ever-popular Banana Bark cards. This industrious and entrepreneurial gentleman proudly showed us how he had converted his tiny home into an assembly line for the production of these cards. He had 14 people working in there for him, each with their own specialized task. I thought of the parable about the master who had distributed talents to some of his servants — surely this one had not buried his in the ground! It gladdened me to think that 4-5 thousand people make a living (many in this area) by creating these beautiful cards.”
Get a head-start on the hectic holiday season by ordering your Banana Bark cards today: www.foodforthepoor.org/bananabarkcards.