The highest justice for children is a strong healthy family.
The Charis Project works to intervene at the point of family crisis to avert the cascade of evil that the children are in danger of falling into.
Our model deploys 3 integrated phases of engagement. Step 1 is strictly limited to families that are actively “falling off the edge,” Step 2 and Step 3 are open to all who have the desire to become stronger in order to protect their families from crisis and disintegration.
STEP 1 – Family Engagement Program
—Our first step of intervention is to engage families in crisis and to hold out a hand of friendship and support. It involves the “hand-out” of food support and is executed in the context of intentional relationship building. We have found that while the food support is vital at the critical stage of crisis for families in extreme poverty the supportive, encouraging friendship is the main healing factor. We specifically target pregnant and nursing mothers and families with severely disabled children. While the friendship is not conditional, the hand-out is strictly policy governed and limited in duration. An unlimited hand-out is not conducive to sustainable family security or strength but tends to encourage dependence.
STEP 2 – Family Education Program
—Our second step is training and education. We have three high impact focus areas:
STEP 3 – Family Enterprise Program
—Our third step is empowerment toward sustainable health and strength. Here we employ creative financing programs to partner with families to empower them to create their own financial security.
While we don’t criticize the responsible use of well applied micro-lending in this area we feel that this model does not fit well with the relational model of healing that is fundamental to our approach. In other words, we do not want to shift our relationship with the families we are working with from supportive partner to creditor.
The core of our model of financial empowerment for family enterprise is the Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA). We train communities in managing and administering their own micro savings and loan. This globally validated model brings the community together to save together and to empower each other. This model gives us a number of advantages over and above the intrinsic effectiveness of the model itself:
From this base we have three main additional modes of engagement.
The Charis Project deploys an integrated suite of targeted services to save the lives of children by healing, strengthening, and keeping their families together. We do this in the context of ongoing supportive intentional relationship. Our vision is for every child to be in a strong healthy family.
Aaron is the co-founder of The Charis Project. He is the current CEO also. In Thailand he is president and director of Shade Tree Foundation, our Thai partner foundation.