Emergency relief from…tropical snowstorms?

Imagine a guy from Iceland arrives at your doorstep. He says he heard you needed help and he came to provide it. He tries to show you how to ice-fish and how to insulate your home against the weather, and how to grow hearty varieties of vegetables, and how to collect glacial runoff for drinking water. He’s brought boatloads of equipment, seeds, and buckets, and a team of Icelandic volunteers to pitch in.

A Peruvian pastor assists a needy neighborhood kid in the feeding program his church runs outside Lima with support from Cross International
A Peruvian pastor assists a needy neighborhood kid in the feeding program his church runs outside Lima with support from Cross International

But you live in Florida. Things don’t work here like they do in Iceland. All their good intentions are for naught. Besides, all you really need is a job. Then you could do the rest.

That is a ridiculous scenario, but a vivid snapshot of what happens when humanitarian aid is provided in the absence of cultural context and local leadership—no matter how well-meaning.

Now take Scenario 2: Your church pastor arrives at your doorstep. He heard you needed a job. Well, that vocational training center your church has been trying to establish has found a sponsor—some folks in Iceland…

That is what sets Cross apart from most agencies helping developing countries: Our support of indigenous, church-based, grassroots efforts of people striving to lift themselves and their neighbors out of poverty. It’s a cost-effective, successful approach that’s inherent to our Mission Statement and Core Values, and has been since Day 1.

OTHER STORIES