I have been working with women in several developing countries for about four years now. I often get asked what inspires me or keeps me going. Of course I made a commitment to help these women, so walking away would never be an option. There are too many counting on me. But that's not what inspires me. The simple answer is that THEY do!
It never fails, but when there is a new member joining A Villager's Hand, and I post their story and needs on social media, the first to respond - every time - are the women who are already being helped through our fair trade nonprofit!
One of my coordinators, who comes from an impoverished area, had just received money from me for his work helping several groups. He had gone to visit some of the women and collect items for shipping when he met another woman needing our help. Without hesitation, he used his paycheck to buy food for her and her children. Naturally when I found out, I reimbursed him. But I was humbled by his action.
Another woman whose husband lost his job needed our help. They had no food in the house. I created an opportunity for her to earn income, and when she saw a post on facebook calling for help with medical needs of another woman's child, she asked if she could send some of the money back to help a woman in another country that she didn't even know! I could not allow her to help because her needs were just as great, but I thanked her for her generous spirit.
In the U.S., we have poverty. But even the poorest of the poor in this country have more than the people I work with on a daily basis. Poverty is seeing your child eat dirt to satisfy their hunger because there is nothing else. No social services, no food stamps, no emergency aid or shelters. Poverty is watching your child die from parasites he got from drinking bad water, and you are powerless to help him. And generosity is giving what you don't have to give, because you value human life above material wealth.