One of the things I have been made aware of in my life as an aid worker is how so many aid workers are good at doing stuff, but not so good at listening. I am afraid that I have been one such worker many times. As I am getting older, and hopefully wiser, I am learning that good aid workers, and good aid organizations, are the ones who are not out to just fulfill their own agenda. They are the ones who come as servants, with a heart willing to learn and to listen. See, just because we come from the richer part of the world, the part of the world with the most stuff, doesn’t mean that we are the smarter ones. The key to good aid work is to listen to the people we are trying to help. And better yet, to get them to do the work that they are more capable of doing than we are.
Today I have been reading through pages upon pages of reports on Partners’ work. It has recharged me. And it has made me sure of one thing: We are in the right place.
I read the testimony of one of the Karen women who have been trained by our staff and who is now teaching her villagers how to have better hygiene and how to take better care of themselves. I was moved, and hope you will be too:
“I love my role as a village health worker! Before, we had a lot of sickness in my village. I used to think it was because we didn’t have medicine or a doctor. Now I know that it was because we lacked knowledge. I teach my neighbors about hand washing with soap, using a toilet, nutrition and iron tablets. In the beginning, they didn’t know anything about anemia. They thought that their fatigue was because they had to work so hard on the farm. At first only a few people would take my iron tablets. But after some time, those people started to shine and seemed energetic all the time. Later, more people started to take iron tablets. I can see that my neighbors believe me now, because they are paying attention to cleanliness. I built the first toilet in my village, now I’m bringing you a request for eleven more.”
Naw Mary was trained by Partners staff, and look at what she is doing! She is building toilets for her village! She is one of 50 such health workers we have trained in just one part of Burma last year. You think it is a good investment? Of course it is! The goal of the Village Health Program is to equip local people to meet their self-identified health needs, and to educate them on additional opportunities to improve the community’s health. If that is not good development work, I don’t know what is.
I am so proud to be a part of Partners Relief & Development, and think you should also join our team. It is easy. Just click here!