Dennis in Kenya started with Spirit in Action in 2007. Samuel, also in Kenya, remembers talking with Del Anderson as he named our organization in 1996. Maggie, in California, was one of the original board members.
Last weekend, the Spirit in Action North American Board and the African Advisory Board gathered on Zoom for a virtual meeting. Three new board members joined from California. (Welcome, Johnann, RuthAnn, and Dan!) The collective wisdom, experience, and openness to learning contained on my small laptop screen was inspiring and motivating.
We gathered from US, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, and Canada to share our delights and to build up a sense of collective understanding across the continents. We also approved another round of funding for emergency response to the pandemic, which is disproportionally affecting the very people that SIA partners work with.
Emergency Response Fund: Sharing the Gift
"Usually a bottle of soap sells for 50ksh ($0.50). But now, the gift the Women of Change received from SIA is being shared for free with the needy families who can't afford even a bar soap to wash their hands and maintain hygiene," reports Dennis, SIA African Advisory Board member.
The Women of Change, an active network of small business women in western Kenya, are truly embodying the spirit of Sharing the Gift. Sharing the Gift is about paying-it-forward. The gift and benefit we receive can also be a gift for someone else. In that way, we are all givers and receivers. It comes from a mindset of gratitude and generosity. (Pictured above: Peris with her soap-making team)
The women are all former alcohol brewers. "When my income was coming from brewing local beer, my husband and I would fight all the time," said Julia. After joining the Women of Change, she switched to farming as a business, and there is more peace at home.
A SIA emergency grant helped the Women of Change purchase the soap supplies and now they are using their skills to make large batches of liquid soap. Together the seven different soap-making sites whipped up 2,800 half-liter bottles!
(Pictured right: Soap is stirred vigorously with a paddle.)