Buy a Latte, Get a Goat

World Concern humanitarians enjoy a cup of tea on the way to visit projects in Bangladesh. On the left is Prodip Dowa, who leads the team in Bangladesh; on the right is Rick Johannessen, who oversees operations across Asia.
World Concern humanitarians enjoy a cup of tea on the way to visit projects in Bangladesh. On the left is Prodip Dowa, who leads the team in Bangladesh; on the right is Rick Johannessen, who oversees operations across Asia.

What do you like with your coffee? Maybe a bagel? How about a goat instead!

This month, a Seattle coffee shop called the Q Cafe is donating 10% of all proceeds to World Concern. The chief barista, a pastor and friend of mine, estimates it will bring in about $350 that we can put toward humanitarian work. (Eugene Cho wrote about this today in his blog.)

You may think, “$350? That’s great, but it’s not a whole lot of money.” But that’s where you would be mistaken. $350 can absolutely, positively change the lives of many people, in some long-lasting transformational ways.

Eugene the barista/pastor asked what $350 could do, and this was my e-mail reply:

Wow, Eugene!

That’s very kind. I appreciate you and the rest of the folks at the Q Cafe thinking of World Concern – and it’s a pleasure to figure out how to spend the money!

When I was in Haiti, I saw the value of goats, which provide incomes through the sale of kids. Some people also sell goat milk. Often, having a goat means children in a family can attend school.

After a series of hurricanes last year, people were left with nothing of value. The storm killed their livestock. I met grandmothers and children who were positively ecstatic to receive goats, to begin to build their herd once again.

So let’s buy a goat, with vaccinations and a pen, for $70.

When I was in Bangladesh, I met several fish farmers. One stands out in my mind. He went from being a pedal-taxi driver to a small businessman, once he began a business to farm-raise fish in a pond. It has allowed him to buy land, build a home, and send his little girls to school. He rises early each morning and works hard – and with an opportunity from World Concern – it has paid off.

Let’s buy some fish fingerlings. A set of 2,000 fingerlings costs about $40. We can purchase 4 sets for $160.

Also in Bangladesh, and in many other countries, I was particularly saddened by the plight of women. It’s a tough place to live on a good day. But many men in Bangladesh (and elsewhere) treat women as second-class citizens. Women have so many responsibilities, from raising children, to farming and raising livestock, to keeping a home. Many also have to earn any income her family may need, because the husband doesn’t feel like working, or because she has been divorced. (And it’s easy to do in that culture. Say “I divorce you” three times.) On top of that, if a woman wants to start a small business, she is often at the mercy of loan sharks. She didn’t have an opportunity to get an education when she was young, so she may fall prey to someone who can see her vulnerabilities.

Let’s provide training and business equipment for one woman, so she can start her own business. It’s $125.

All of this adds up to $355. We can adjust it once we figure out how much was raised.

I am getting all of these prices from World Concern’s Global Gift Guide. Flipping through it, I recognize many of the items for sale as real programs that really do make an enormous difference in the life of the poor.

Let’s pray for good coffee sales this June!

Derek

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