Meet The Colleagues
How Jonathan Is Touching Lives
When New Colleague Jonathan Mason was commissioned at the 2010 Conference, he knew he was being called to use his business skills to make a difference in South Asia, but he couldn't picture the specifics.
Due to the devastating floods in Pakistan, Jonathan traveled with a friend to a remote region of the country, and helped to install a large solar-powered water filtration system. This will provide drinking water to a school of 1,000 children, and a local community for years to come.
Apart from his water filtration work, he has also been given a lead role in drafting a $100,000 grant to begin a vocational training school for students who complete high school. This program will grow to equip 200 people a year with the skills to break the cycle of generational poverty, in an area where less than 2 in 5 earn over $1.00 a day.
In a neighboring city slum, Jonathan has joined with a local microfinance organization that has empowered 180 women to start their own businesses. While many of the women are illiterate, they have overcome barriers and become successful. "One challenge that has arisen is that a number of women are starting the same businesses, and end up as competitors." Jonathan has come alongside to research and encourage women to find new ventures. "One of the most promising options is chicken farming," says Jonathan. "The spare eggs introduce protein into the women's diets and dozens of women could raise chickens without feeling any competition (the market can support tens of thousands more eggs before the price drops). It may only raise income by a few cents a day, but when all you make is a dollar, a few cents can change a lot."
*For the safety of Colleague volunteers, some details in this update have been withheld or altered.
Jonathan's Service BioAs we learn the community's specific needs, we will organize a project proposal to address those needs. Most likely this will include some kind of business education and job creation.
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