Many of us have a deep desire to make a difference in the lives of the poor. We want to make change. 

Dissatisfied with the world as it is, we are restless to bring change. The kingdom of God is about advancing justice and mercy. We see the world as broken, and know that we have a responsibility to bring restoration.

But how?

We are moved by the stories of others. When we hear of some terrible injustice, we are moved to action. Most of us have a desire to do well by doing good. We want our help to bring change–not to foster more poverty.

When Helping Hurts, is a recently published and popular book on the impact of doing good in the wrong ways. It’s forcing us to confront a very uncomfortable reality about our charity.

Sometimes our charity creates more poverty. 

This happens when we address only the symptoms of poverty. Yes, symptoms need to be addressed. Hungry people need food and clean water. But more importantly they need access to the resources to permanently change their stories. 

The Story Company with this question: How can we best help the world’s poor “make change” for themselves?

It begins by recognizing the poor have the same dignity, talent, and creative abilities that we do in the West. They possess the same raw materials. Imagine being prevented from using your talent and creative abilities because well-meaning foreigners were always doing everything for you? 

While not the intent, it is often the outcome.

When we stop doing things for the poor, and start focusing on removing the barriers that keep them poor, you can unleash the creative and entrepreneurial potential of the world’s poor.

The Story Company “makes change” by removing obstacles faced by the poor. And the biggest obstacle they face is access to thriving markets. They have the products and the passion, but no one to sell to. Through The Story Company, we are actively removing that obstacle for entrepreneurs in the developing world.

Today at the The Story Company, you can purchase a variety of products made by the world’s poor. Not in a factory or sweatshop–but in the homes and businesses of enterprising men and women working to better themselves through trade. Don’t you want to join that story?

When you buy a product from The Story Company, you do something charity alone cannot. You are part of an economic eco-system that generates revenue for poor families…that revenue becomes:

– Job security
– Education
– Health care
– Housing
– Upward mobility
– Jobs for the community
– Enhanced dignity
– Self sufficiency

There aren’t many places that can make the guarantee that when you purchase a product, your money goes directly to the person who made it.

It’s a sustainable solution focused on long-term poverty alleviation through trade. Together, The Story Company and our partners can enable a generation to rise up to become leaders of their own countries.

Take a look at one of our Story Company Partners, Timbali Crafts. Before there was a Story Company, we used to buy these up and sell them to our partners in the U.S. Now, through The Story Company, these women have access to the same freedoms and opportunities we have here. We hope to expand their capacity, and create more sustainability alongside them as their partners–and their customers. Check it out.

More from Beliefnet and our partners