Impact. Children in Misiones' School
Ten years ago, with a group of friends we founded a nonprofit organization called Sumando Manos Foundation, because we believed that together we could make a change in our lives and the lives of other people.
10 years ago our organization was born, and everything happened very fast, from our first meeting where we discussed what to do and how, and more important, why we are doing it.
Today, looking in perspective and distance these 10 years, it's amazing that our idea, our dream became a reality and that we can help so many children in our country.
We are involved in various projects that help underprivileged children in remote zones of Argentina. The children we work walk bare foot between 5 and 8 km to go to school and consider themselves lucky if they get one meal a day. They live in villages were resources are limited and access to basic human needs such as drinkable water, electricity and medical care are not guaranteed.
Our organization works by leveraging and complementing each other’s talents. We seek to optimize what we have, those intangible assets that we have acquired through our personal and professional lives, and what we enjoy doing to give children a better quality of life.
But that experience also was built with what we learned from our failures.
The need and gaps we saw made us react urgently, and that was a mistake.
Children were dying due to malnutrition. We provided food for them, but they could not eat it because the conditions of their oral hygiene did not even allow them to chew. Working with our team and other nonprofit organizations, we were able to get dentists and physicians to come treat them, but the problems just kept on unfolding. We soon realized that there were parasites in the soil that the children, who lacked shoes, were being exposed to. So we provided shoes for them, but, even then, the children continued to die because they were also drinking contaminated water during their long walks from school back home and vice versa.
Finally, we were able to drill and provide safe, clean water for them to drink. Thanks to the continue efforts, in the last six years no child has died due to mal nutrition, parasites or contaminated water.
We learned that there is no short term or one time solution and there are realities that even we cannot imagine.
We learned about ourselves, we learned to listen more, to be more patient and compressive, so we can understand the specifics of each situation, in each place, and meet the people and their needs. This helped us a lot, especially to define how to work, as bond with each community, and with other organizations to provide assistance in an integrated manner, seeking long-term solutions to rural schools, feeding centers and foster homes, in remote locations our Argentina.
And we learned the difference between result and impact.
The other day I was asked about the difference between result and impact, and I think one way to describe it, is distinguishing between what represents for us the activity we do, and what change produces in the person who receives it.
For example, we conduct the campaign "For a child's breakfast" for schools in Chaco. From the perspective of the result, it could be measured by: obtaining the necessary funds, the bond with the people who help us reach that monthly food schools, etc. But when that food may be the only one receiving by the child in the day, when it becomes to school in the place of containment where kids go for the food and increase the attendance, and where children can receive education because they do not fall asleep because of the different levels of malnutrition, This is what we define as impact!
And we learned that giving is not giving what we do not need, but to share what we have.
There have been several stories and projects like this one in the history of our organization.
We started helping a foster home with 20 children, and today we have helped more than 10,000 children in more than 100 schools and their communities. And we learned that they only exist because a lot of people are willing to give, willing to do what they like and what they know for the benefit of others, to make a change.
As a USA poet (Maya Angelou) said, “people may forget what you said and may forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel”.
And this is our mission, to make the children feel that they are important and have an opportunity.
Today, we are very happy to share with you that in several of the schools support by our organization new children generation does not know what is facing lack of food, clean water, school supply, and pediatric services.
Thanks to everyone for trusting in our foundation to be the liaison between the children who need our help and yourselves
Sumando Manos Foundation