Snowball in the Camps
There’s just something very Canadian about snow.
When I think back to the start of this journey, a very small initiative with 28 kids, and subsequently cobbling together some more relatively small-scale humanitarian projects, it didn’t occur to me at the time where it would all lead to over 15 years later. The needs on the ground, needless to say, seemed never-ending.
But by continuing to stay engaged all these years later, and with a deliberate, carefully crafted systematic approach, not only have thousands of lives been transformed along the way, but the process is actually snowballing.
I call it the OBAT Ecosystem of Care.
From the cradle, an individual can navigate through OBAT’s programs until they’re able to stand on their own feet. And then they give back and keep the cycle going and growing.
Take for example a child born through our Maternal Care Program, which enables mothers to safely deliver babies. Depending on the circumstances of the child’s family, they can then get support either through our Basic Needs and Nutrition Program or Family Sponsorship. If they’re an orphan, they can be covered through our Orphan Sponsorship Program.
Our clean water and sanitation projects provide critical infrastructure for the child’s wellbeing. The child benefits from quality education, starting at our preschools and right through high school. Along the way, the child gets access to quality health care through OBAT’s health projects.
Upon completion of high school, there are opportunities for support to attend post-secondary institutions and/or vocational training, which positions them exceptionally well with employable skills.
Now an empowered individual, they are, of course, very conscious of OBAT’s presence in their life. As a product of OBAT’s Ecosystem of Care, they’ve seen for years the support they’ve received and the advice that this for them today is so that they can give it forward to others in the future.
Enter the OBAT “Think Tank” youth groups. We aren’t just producing individual cases of success, but leaders who are social agents of change for the collective. They give back in so many ways – food drives, procuring wheelchairs, giving blood, cleaning up the camps, hygiene awareness, volunteering at local hospitals, teaching and tutoring OBAT students, and so on – not only in their camp communities, but to society at large.
And it’s working: every year we have more and more youth from the camps they’ve lived in for generations, once abandoned and neglected, now empowered with dignity, respect, and hope. More doctors, scientists, engineers, pharmacists, teachers, accountants…the list goes on. As they give back and keep the cycle going and growing for future empowered generations to be lifted out of poverty, our support is needed less and less. Our aim is to eventually not be needed at all; it’s as humbling as it’s exciting to witness and experience.
I invite you to join us as we not only transform lives, but generations!