By: Katie Ulrich, Partners Worldwide Marketing Intern
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
The idea of partnership is at the heart of everything we do at Partners Worldwide. We believe that by connecting people across the globe and building long-term relationships, our lives are enriched and the collective effort to end poverty is strengthened.
Our model is a three-way partnership between Local Community Institutions, volunteer mentors, and Partners Worldwide staff. Some volunteer mentors serve locally, within their own communities, and some of our mentors serve internationally.
We choose partnership, not because it is efficient, but because it echoes our Christian calling to live and work in communion together. As the often-quoted African Proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
A partnership model also reminds us that we are not in this alone. When tragedy strikes, we have others to lean on. Hector, an entrepreneur in Honduras, learned this firsthand when his furniture business burned down in 2015.
Hector built his furniture factory from scratch, and the business quickly grew. In the first couple years, Hector expanded his product line and began to hire more employees. He began dreaming about how his business could employ and empower others.
Things were looked promising until the unexpected happened—a fire destroyed his entire factory. His business burned to the ground. With no insurance to cover the damage, Hector lost everything: inventory, equipment, paperwork, and office equipment.
Years of hard work reduced to ashes.
This tragedy could have been the end of Hector’s business. On his own, he would have struggled to reopen his factory. But he was not alone—he had partners from across the globe who were eager to help him rebuild.
Hector received guidance, encouragement, and financial support from a number of groups within the Partners Worldwide network, including volunteer mentors, GEP, and other local partners in Honduras. Two mentors in particular, Saul and Suyapa, came alongside Hector to help him weather this storm—and they have been walking with him ever since.
Against the odds, Hector was able to reopen his factory and become fully operational just three months after the fire!
His story shows us just how powerful partnership can be. The support of local and international partners was crucial for Hector in reopening his furniture business.
We seek to engage in partnerships across the world in order to support entrepreneurs like Hector in their businesses. By working together in partnership, we are working together towards a world without poverty.
Katie Ulrich interned at Partners Worldwide in the summer of 2017. She is currently a senior at Calvin College studying International Development Studies and Strategic Communication. After graduation, she hopes to work for a non-profit organization pursuing justice for the poor.