"You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself."
- Galileo Galilei
Solar ovens. Water filtration systems. Community centers. Irrigation channels. New wells. These are just a few examples of small projects that have had a big impact in communities struggling to rebuild. But what really makes these activities significant is that they are community-based, grassroots projects.
Often, humanitarian programs are designed by outsiders with little or no local input. SFL understands that sustainable communities are built through the shared involvement of local people who are empowered to be an integral part of the rebuilding process. Full community participation and ownership is critical for a project to be a success. SFL believes that local residents understand the needs of their own community and are the best resource for developing solutions to their problems. The results are motivated community groups who are equipped and trained to meet local needs.
SFL staff are continually impressed with the dedication, hard work, and creativity of residents who design and implement community projects. Ultimately, SFL's goal is to mentor community groups to the point where they no longer need our assistance. As one SFL field staff member commented, "When we find ourselves out of a job, then we know that we have successfully done our job."
When SFL field staff gather around the table to talk about community development, eyes light up and heads begin to nod in agreement. Words like training, equipping, empowering, and capacity building punctuate the conversation. As they share stories about working with families and communities, their excitement and passion for this work is clear. Rebuilding a village can be done with mere bricks and mortar, but SFL understands that restoring lives requires much more.
SFL restores lives by integrating its reconstruction projects with community development programs that are designed to enable independence and self-sufficiency. These grassroots programs focus on four key areas: community health, economic development, food security, and capacity building. SFL's community development programs are what make the critical difference between offering a handout and offering a helping hand.
Shelter is more than a roof and four walls...