Life After Devastation

Life After Devastation

How do you move forward when the worst has happened?
At some point in our lives, we’ll all experience something not going to plan. For some of us, these disruptions may be especially devastating. And unfortunately, in certain parts of the world, these are unfortunately more commonplace.
In many parts

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The Tree Difference

The Tree Difference

Wilner’s community used to be extremely barren
It seems like not long ago when Fonds-Verrettes was a very barren place. In fact, it wasn’t that long ago. About ten years before many community members joined Plant With Purpose groups and learned the value of reforestation, they lived on unproductive soil.

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The Preeteen President

The Preeteen President

Empowerment groups help both people and the planet
Wherever Plant With Purpose works, participants join empowerment groups. These groups support environmental restoration efforts with economic development through loans and savings. As community members save their extra income in shares and lend money to each other to generate further income, poverty

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Why is Bok Chee smiling so much?

Why is Bok Chee smiling so much?

Bok Chee radiates joy and contentment
In his village of Huay Lu Luang, Bok Chee stands out for his easygoing nature and warm smile. It isn’t uncommon to find him joking with his neighbors or playing with his granddaughter in between taking care of the family farm.
For most people

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The Gold Mine of Local Ingenuity

The Gold Mine of Local Ingenuity

What happens when the line gets blurry between sustainability and marketing?
Some of our planet’s most needed solutions are ready to be unearthed. They aren’t waiting to be discovered in the labs of our top research institutions. They aren’t waiting for tech entrepreneurs to figure things out. They’re in the

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Food on the Table: The Story of Messoyel

Food on the Table: The Story of Messoyel

Haiti has faced challenges year after year.
Haiti is no stranger to the hopelessness that comes from generations of government changes and promises, with little to show for it. Even when big changes are made to better the country, small farmers like Messoyel often are the last people to be

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Knowledge Empowers

Knowledge Empowers

Empowerment often takes the form of learning
When it comes to community development, you can give away food. You can give clothing. You can give scholarships, or water, or trees. These are all things that are all deeply needed in many parts of the world, and there are many times

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My faith has come from difficult moments

My faith has come from difficult moments

Sometimes it’s the hardest moments of life that produce the most growth
If we were to list out the most meaningful things we’ve done throughout our life and then make a second list featuring the most difficult things we’ve ever done, I suspect we’d find a good amount of overlap.

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We Have Never Felt Stronger

We Have Never Felt Stronger

There are times when it’s hard to feel strong.
Think of a time in your life when it seems like one challenge after another kept rising up, and it started to take an emotional toll. Sometimes, it’s not just a calamity that can leave you discouraged, but a constant stream

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Can You Reap What You Sow?

Can You Reap What You Sow?

You reap what you sow, right?
You’ve heard the expression, I’m sure. It comes right out of Scripture– several times.
Galatians 6:7 reads, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”
2 Corinthians explains that the point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also

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Haiti’s Challenges

Haiti’s Challenges

Haiti’s challenges are deep and complex.
One of the most famous images of Haiti contrasts its lack of vegetation with a neighboring National Park in the Dominican Republic. The difference is so stark that nature follows the political border.
A flight into Haiti might provide another example of its environmental

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Even though they won’t benefit me now.

Even though they won’t benefit me now.

One principle of sustainability is doing things with benefits that go beyond your lifetime.
In one of his most famous poems, “Manifesto”, Wendell Berry suggests doing things that we will not live to see the benefit of:
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the

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Breaking Ground in the Borderlands

Breaking Ground in the Borderlands

If you’ve been to the Dominican Republic, chances are, you saw the eastern part of the country, either the coast or the area around the capital of Santo Domingo.
Statistically, these are the places most visitors go.
Far fewer visitors go west. If you have, you may have more

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A better environment benefits all

A better environment benefits all

Rio Garza once suffered from the environmental conditions that plague many rural communities around the world.
Problems like deforestation, poverty, and soil erosion create difficult lives for people living in rural areas around the world. This is the reason why rural poverty remains a challenge to eradicate, even though the

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Why animals? Talk to Come

Why animals? Talk to Come

Animals support rural farmers with nutrients and stability.
In Burundi, many live in rural communities and farm for their livelihood. Most grow crops, but few have animals. When families own livestock, their lives change.
Owning livestock acts as a safeguard for farming families. Farmers often lack nutrients from meat

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It started with a single cow

It started with a single cow

Sayumi’s story started with her farm and a single cow.
Sayumi’s life wasn’t easy. It was simple, but she had to work exceedingly hard just to survive.
She tended her family’s farm every single day, which provided them just enough to get by. Still, her family’s life was full of uncertainty.

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God is very much alive

God is very much alive

Has God ever felt quiet to you?
God is always present and near. But that doesn’t mean it always feels that way. Throughout the course of one’s lifetime, there may be long stretches of silence and seasons that feel unusually dry.
Sometimes, our relationship with God can feel like going

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The only nail polish I use is dirt

The only nail polish I use is dirt

Fefela stands out in her community for her hard work and dedication to restoration.
In fact, Fefela might never sit down. During our team’s visit to her community of Los Piños, she was up and moving the entire time, making sure that everything was running smoothly.
The community of

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We Were The Ones Who Forgot

We Were The Ones Who Forgot

For Isaya, poverty took many forms
Isaya lives in Tanzania, where he and his neighbors once lived in poverty. They didn’t just lack money, however. They also lacked trees, enthusiasm, and the awareness of how to improve their situation.
The barrenness of the land around him left Isaya concerned about

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Not Condemned to be Poor

Not Condemned to be Poor

A changed heart is the first step towards renewal
One of the biggest things that determines what we can accomplish is the story we tell ourselves about ourselves. A big part of Plant With Purpose’s program is to replace false narratives that our participants have come to believe with the

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She won’t be kept down

She won’t be kept down

Twelve years ago, the village of San Isidro Trementina was devastated
The small, rural community in Mexico was made up of farmers. When the land was well, the crops grew and the people were well. When the land suffered, so did the crops and the people in the village.
Then,

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The wisdom of Jah Cho

The wisdom of Jah Cho

Jah Cho’s smile is contagious
If you catch Jah Cho among his neighbors in Northern Thailand, you won’t have to wait very long before he offers up some jokes. His many stories, told in his Lahu dialect, are always accompanied with a big smile and belly laugh. Jah Cho is

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The Struggles & Successes of Ms. Christina

The Struggles & Successes of Ms. Christina

Christina knows the challenges of rural living
Christina lives in the village of Siha, on the western slope of Mount Kilimanjaro. Though she is close to the mountain, it can be difficult to get to her village. The steep slopes and unpaved roads demand a cautious drive away from the

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The Pride of Aleaulwa

The Pride of Aleaulwa

Poverty is a serious threat to many families
Millions of families around the world live in poverty, but their hopes are pretty similar to the hopes of most other families. Parents want to be able to put their kids through school to get a strong education. Children hope to grow

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Say hello to Señor Cheo

Say hello to Señor Cheo

In his village, there were no banks. And that was a big problem.
Palmarito is in the rural Dominican Republic. Like many rural parts of the country, the community lacked banks.
This wasn’t just an inconvenience. Having somewhere to save your money makes a big difference in economic wellness. Having

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The Eye of Water

The Eye of Water

It started with a different vision.
About twenty years ago, a visit to the community of Ojo de Agua, “the eye of water” in Mexico’s Mixteca region would have looked quite different. The steep hillside would have been brown and dry.
For years, the people of Ojo de Agua relied

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Why diversify? Just ask Arfanio

Why diversify? Just ask Arfanio

Diversify!
Visit any farmer field school across Plant With Purpose’s international programs, and you’ll find people enthusiastic about why you should diversify your crops and income.
Why? To put it simply, diversity is strength.
In many developing countries, farmers have been encouraged to over-invest in a single cash crop.

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Faith isn’t just for Sunday

Faith isn’t just for Sunday

Worship has no boundaries
A big part of spiritual renewal is learning that we shouldn’t compartmentalize our relationship with God within church walls. Our faith isn’t just for Sundays. A vibrant, robust faith impacts every single thing we do, from church to work to life at home. There are no

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The changed life of Pablo

The changed life of Pablo

Ruta 1 transects the Dominican Republic from north to south. While it is a major road, an hour away from it sit a number of communities that are quiet. Rural. Often overlooked.
Maizal is one of these communities.
Here, you won’t find any banks, any grocery stores, or any major

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From Myanmar to her own backyard, Na Kuh creates change

From Myanmar to her own backyard, Na Kuh creates change

Conflict drove her family from Myanmar into Thailand.
“We walked from our village into a border area, then into Thailand,” Na Kuh recounted to us. “There were two or three families together, with our children. It took us about a week to enter into that border area. While we were

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For Julius, sustainability protects a family legacy

For Julius, sustainability protects a family legacy

Julius’ farm is one of the most vibrant sites in his village.
The village of Rombo sits high atop of its Tanzanian watershed. In one of the highest parts of Rombo, you’ll find a large farm growing bananas, sugar, cabbage, amongst a variety of other crops. The area surrounding the

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Carolina and the courage to dream

Carolina and the courage to dream

As a young girl, Carolina pleaded with her father to allow her to go to school.
He had not planned on sending any of his daughters to school. School fees were far too expensive and he believed home was the place for women. Immediate needs dictated life. Barren and unproductive

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Sustainability means giving beyond our own lives

Sustainability means giving beyond our own lives

Jah Cho has seen how hard life can be.
In Northern Thailand you’ll find dozens of small villages where several ethnic minorities live. Many tribal groups have never been granted national citizenship. Many have faced persecution from the state. It isn’t uncommon to find older adults willing to talk about

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Farms, Food, and Family: Khamsee’s Transformation

Farms, Food, and Family: Khamsee’s Transformation

For years Khamsee was unable to put food on the table.
Much of Thailand has grown internationally familiar as the country has boomed as a tourist hot spot in recent years. Cities like Bangkok, Phuket, and Chiang Mai see the bulk of visitors. Many of the country’s rural areas, however,

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Global change requires empowering locals

Global change requires empowering locals

Solutions that really last are the ones driven by locals.
When people are full-fledged participants in the process, lasting change begins. There are many cases where an organization or think-tank enters a village with a technology-driven innovation that seems guaranteed to eradicate disease, prevent droughts, or halt poverty. The local

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One of the hardest working people you’ll ever meet

One of the hardest working people you’ll ever meet

Emma provides the world with a valuable crop – coffee.
As a farmer in Tanzania, she produces between 300,000 and 400,000 vegetables each week. Emma works extremely hard, digging trenches and harvesting her crops by hand. Chief among her crops is one that millions of people around the world find

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Violence disrupted her family; now she’s fighting it by the roots

Violence disrupted her family; now she’s fighting it by the roots

Violence plagued the village of Poblete, and disrupted Juana’s family.
Juana, her husband, and their three children lived in Poblete, located in one of Mexico’s poorest areas which suffered from widespread violence. For years, the village experienced tension and crime. When environmental damage caused its farms to produce less food,

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When trees go up, poverty comes down

When trees go up, poverty comes down

Without trees, the rural poor are often stuck in a cycle of poverty and environmental loss.
The conditions of poverty create a strain on land, and exhausted land threatens the livelihood of the farmers who live there.
This was a scenario that challenged Eleuterio, a seed producer in Coatecas Altas,

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Motherhood is difficult. In DR Congo, it’s simply daunting

Motherhood is difficult. In DR Congo, it’s simply daunting

The Democratic Republic of Congo is among the worst places to be a mom.
Each year, Save the Children releases an annual motherhood report that determines the best and worst places to become a mother. In 2012, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) reached the very bottom of that list.

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Save money. Find something you’re good at

Save money. Find something you’re good at

Marcos and Maria are a couple full of joy. 
The community of La Joya is nestled an hour away from Piedra Blanca in the Dominican Republic. Those living in living these rural areas often lag behind the rest of the country’s economic development. As the Dominican Republic experiences economic growth,

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Empowerment writes a different story in the hills of Haiti

Empowerment writes a different story in the hills of Haiti

Good intentions often produce harmful results in Haiti. 
Haiti is a hot spot for charity organizations and well-intentioned people wanting to help. The country is often recognized by its poverty as the poorest in the Western Hemisphere and the victim of natural disasters. Unfortunately, the presence of these good intentions

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Putting the world’s biggest problems in reverse

Putting the world’s biggest problems in reverse

Poverty and deforestation are harsh on vulnerable populations.
For generations, the community of La Joya in the Dominican Republic relied on farming. Good production of coffee and graperfuit allowed pig and cattle farmers to produce enough for their families and people. This all started to change as deforestation began and

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