"Community is so much more than living and working together." - H. Nouwen
Developing Communities to Overcome Poverty
In 2010, two missionaries working in Highgate, Jamaica, realized that in spite of years of traditional efforts to conquer poverty in the region - investment of thousands of dollars, countless short-term church mission visits, and construction of nearly 300 homes - the people of Highgate remained impoverished, materially and spiritually.
Why were 20 years of good faith efforts failing to accomplish change?
The conclusion: Highgate lacked community - that indescribable sense of belonging, of being part of an interdependent, collaborative neighborhood of individuals connected by place, family and friends, with shared joys and sorrows.
With the assistance of local leaders, RAISE International birthed RAISE Jamaica Ltd. Centered around the development of a sustainable farming initiative on 190 acres of arable farmland, RAISE Jamaica Ltd. rejects the traditional model of delivering assistance and embraces a new model; one focused on creating a local, neighborhood identity that empowers people to create their own future through connection to the land, meaningful employment, shared recreation and worship, and interdependent support of family, friends and those unable to care for themselves. RAISE international seeks to develop community and by doing so conquer poverty.
In 2019, after only nine short years of building community, RAISE is overcoming poverty in Highgate, Jamaica.