Though we are small, our impact is large. Our ABSF grantee partners inspire us every day. From securing high quality, age-appropriate wheelchairs for children in a remote corner of Tanzania, to providing job training and employment to young women in Guatemala, we support people all over the world. Children with disabilities in Uganda are now able to access school for the first time because they finally have a wheelchair to get them there and a ramp to get into the classroom. Young women in Rwanda have overcome all odds, and made it into university by accessing programs available to them through Komera. They have gone on to start businesses and give back to their communities. Salvadorans, living in a time of extreme violence, are receiving high level care from prosthetists, and prosthetic limbs from ABSF partner, LIMBS. These examples are just a small sampling of the programs that rely on ABSF’s partnership to operate and thrive in struggling regions of the globe.
Having had the opportunity to see many of these organizations in action in 2016, I am convinced of the positive impact the Arthur B. Schultz Foundation is having in the communities in which we operate. I am also moved by the number of organizations that carry the same vision of Arthur B. Schultz himself, the concept of paying-it-forward, and giving back to one’s community. Four young women from northern Kenya are studying for university level teaching degrees, with plans to move back to their remote communities to fill the gap of a lack of quality teachers. Margaret is in her 3rd year of nursing school after graduating from The WISER School, her dream is to move back home after graduation and provide crucial healthcare services in her village of Muhuru Bay, Kenya. In Guatemala, with support from Xela Aid, Estrella has completed her nursing degree and is already back home in her poor village, working in a health clinic.
In spite of the uncertainty of our current times, I am more optimistic than ever as we head into 2017. The partnerships we’ve formed, friendships we’ve created, and smiles on the children I’ve met along the way have me inspired for everything to come, as I believe our partners are truly changing the world. In the words of our Founder, and as I’m sure you’ll agree, “small is beautiful.”
Rachael K Richards