It can be humiliating to be treated as a charity case—the object of someone else’s pity and justification for their pride. Not being able to feed your family can be enough of a blow to your self esteem; but having food (or a house, or other basic need) provided in the wrong spirit can be almost as crushing.
That is why Cross International takes care to maintain the dignity of the poor. Rather than take a “Santa Claus” approach, we lend behind-the-scenes support to local churches and ministries already serving poor communities. A needy family is helped by a pastor in their own neighborhood, for example. This not only builds up a family’s self worth and sense of community, it builds up the local church as well.
Whenever possible, we also require the poor to be part of their own solution. For instance:
- Side-by-side with local Filipino Christians, poor families in Manila help build and paint the homes they receive through Gawad Kalinga.
- Villagers in Zambia collect rocks and sand to make cement for much-needed wells and latrines through the Chikankata Water Project.
- And disenfranchised Haitian families living in the Dominican Republic are asked to pay a token amount toward their children’s education at Light Community School.
As Christians, we are instructed to treat others—including the very poor—as we would want to be treated (Luke 6:31). More than that, in humility we are to consider them better than ourselves. (Philippians 2:3). It is with such humility that Cross International strives to honor the poor by helping them in Jesus’ name, and with his love.