Empowering destitute people towards transforming communities



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3Posing the problem


People working with the destitute frequently request information. How do you do it, where do you get funding, what exactly do you do with your participants? Centres, programmes and projects helping people, specifically destitute people, are currently being run all over the country, as the church (in some places), and individual believers start to understand something of the heart of God for the poorest of the poor.
The problem is simply that, at least in our country, South Africa, there are few or no solid theological guidelines to guide helpers (including churches, CBO’s, NGO’s and even individuals); it is mostly a case of every person on his/her own mission. There is a need for solid missiological guidelines in this area.
Furthermore, there is also a need to learn from one another, so that we do not repeat mistakes, but rather improve the quality of the work that is done in the name of the Lord.
Church-based interventions usually lack in sociological and psychological know-how when it comes to helping the destitute, leading to an inability to integrate successfully and holistically a programme of care.
Added to this is the unique political and economical situation of South Africa, which raises the question of how CBO’s must deal with the destitute in this context, in a holistic programme.
In working with the destitute, I have been approached frequently with the request “help us start a shelter/programme in…”, or questions about the “how” of comprehensive holistic interventions. From these and other similar requests in the same vein, I perceive that there is a problem; there is a need to know more about how to help destitute people, especially by establishing holistic programmes of care through, for instance, “shelters” and other programmes. I specifically refer to church-based organizations.
The difficulty can be narrowed down even further with a specific focus on destitute or homeless people, such as the people who usually end up in shelters or programmes of various kinds, the “outies” as they call themselves. I am convinced that empowering these people will definitely work towards transforming the communities in which they live and function, a premise for which I can state numerous cases as proof. Like the case of the participant, who came off the street, became a resident in Popup, went through the programme, and today is the chairperson for “The alliance for street children.” Or the case of a lady of 60 years old who nearly died after trying to commit suicide, yet who now runs the medical clinic in Popup. These are but two examples of empowered people who are now “transforming” the communities in which they function.
This “empowerment” obviously takes place within a specific context; in this case that of urban South Africa, and my own specific context is the urban environment of Pretoria and Johannesburg, cities in the province of Gauteng, within South Africa. My context is also that of a church-based NGO company, starting off with Popup as a project, and later on projects developed from the platform of an affluent church in Alberton, called Alberton Lewensentrum.
This brings us to the theme “Empowering destitute people towards transforming communities”, as well as to my hypothesis.

4Hypotheses


In this thesis I will proceed from the premise that the destitute can best be helped in a community of care that applies an integrated model of intervention. I will work towards such a model, which I will call a “continuum of empowering care”. This model should incorporate both approaches that work from the “outside-in” as well as from the “inside-out” to empower destitute people.
This raises the aspect of empowerment in a multidisciplinary context. For Christian care workers there is much to be learned from disciplines other than theology so as to better understand how best to empower people. A great deal can be gained from the fields of sociology, social welfare, occupational therapy, pastoral therapy, psychology, psychiatry and even project management to assist in developing an understanding of how best to assist destitute people to be empowered.
For me “empowering care” is the very essence of our missiological task – by helping people to be empowered, we are discipling them to become what God wants them to be. And in the process, as people are empowered, their lives will undoubtedly transform the community in some way; and in a reciprocal relationship, the communities of care in which they function will transform them.
In summary I will work towards the development of a model called a “continuum of empowering care”, within a multidisciplinary context, but with a missiologically strong focus on an understanding of destitution. The theological themes that will guide me can best be encapsulated by the term SHALOM.

The approach that I would like to follow to the problem of empowering people towards transforming communities can most precisely be captured by the Afrikaans phrase “’n Heel mens wat toegerus is om sy/haar wêreld te verander” (A whole person that has been empowered to change his/ her world).


5Research questions


Following from the posing of the problem and hypothesis, a number of research questions may be asked:

  1. Why do people become destitute? Which are the different problems and factors which dynamically interact to cause destitution?

  2. Why do some people rather than others become destitute under the same circumstances?

  3. What are the experiences of the destitute? In order to be able really to help the latter, we must reach some understanding of their experiences, and the motivation behind their conduct.

  4. How can the destitute be helped, internally, to face their problems and become motivated to change?

  5. How can we best help the destitute to grow or develop? In doing so, we must assist them towards personal development, because “when a person is developed, he [sic] becomes creative, and a creative person can make something out of nothing” (Manalisi Deka, during the IUM Winter school Conference, Pretoria, 4 July 2003.)

  6. What can be done towards the economic empowerment of the destitute? Hand in hand with personal development is economic empowerment.

  7. How can the destitute be empowered through partaking in communities of care (i.e. CBO’s), and re-integrated into society?

  8. How can we best develop a sound missiological framework to motivate and equip organizations, specifically church-based ones, to work with destitute people?

  9. How can a model of empowering care as regards the destitute be created by drawing on various disciplines, such as sociology, social welfare, occupational therapy, pastoral therapy, psychology, psychiatry, project management, human development, community development, missiology, development theory and theology?

  10. Which method of theological research will be most appropriate to explore the creation of models of care, for the destitute, which can be used by CBO’s?

Insights gained in researching the above hypothesis must eventually lead to transformed praxis, where we do differently because we understand differently.



Kataloq: 2015
2015 -> Dərs vəsaiti, Bakı, Çaşoğlu -2003 A. M. Qafarov Standartlaşdırmanın əsasları
2015 -> Azərbaycan Respublikası Kənd Təsərrüfatı Nazirliyi Azərbaycan Respublikası Təhsil Nazirliyi Azərbaycan Dövlət Aqrar Universiteti
2015 -> AZƏrbaycan əraziSİNDƏ İBTİDAİ İcma quruluşU
2015 -> АзярбайжАН РЕСПУБЛИКАСЫ ТЯЩСИЛ НАЗИРЛИЙИ азярбайжан дювлят игтисад университети
2015 -> Mühazirə Mövzu: Sertifikasiyanın mahiyyəti və məzmunu. Plan əsas terminlər və anlayışlar
2015 -> Mühazirəçi: T. E. N., Prof. İ. M.Əliyev FƏNN: avtomatikanin əsaslari mühazirə 15
2015 -> Ali təhsil müəssisəsinin Nümunəvi Nizamnaməsi"nin və "Azərbaycan Respublikası Nazirlər Kabinetinin dəyişiklik edilmiş bəzi qərarlarının siyahısı"nın təsdiq edilməsi haqqında Azərbaycan Respublikasının Nazirlər Kabinetinin Qərarı
2015 -> AZƏrbaycan respublikasi təHSİl naziRLİYİ azərbaycan döVLƏT İQTİsad universiteti
2015 -> Mühazirəçi: T. E. N., Prof. İ. M.Əliyev FƏNN: avtomatikanin əsaslari mühazirə 22 MÖvzu: telemexanik sistemləR

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