Who in their right mind would give a tractor to a Monk?
May 1, 2021
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I know. I know. Strange notion isn’t it? I get that. Who in their right mind would give a tractor to a monk? Or a dump truck? Or a rice-harvesting machine? I confess. We did all those things – and more. Several times. We did that for monks. We also did that for secular community groups supporting preschools and libraries.

Okay, here’s the story

Many socially minded monks in SE Asia do a wonderful job working to fill the gaps between whatever services the government provides and the pressing needs of the people – especially in rural areas. Often these are big gaps. Schools, all the way up through high school and job training centers are a couple of good examples. And that work is dead center in alignment with our mission of eliminating poverty by educating girls and women.

These monks (and the community groups) are among the most dedicated people I’ve ever met – ever. Their efforts often rise to the level of herculean. Vastly underfunded, they somehow rally enough support from the local community to get by, and keep going – albeit often at a somewhat less than an ideal level.

We all know the oft-quoted adage about “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach him to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.” (Please excuse the outdated sexist language.) But, there’s a real problem with that notion. All too often those folks lack the necessary fishing gear and simply cannot afford buy it.

The Key For a Better Future

That’s where our concept of Social Enterprise comes into the picture. If the monk – or the community group – has an idea about how they could make some money – and can, with a bit of coaching, produce a realistic Business Plan – then we can consider some funding. Here’s an example of that – a simple one, but a direct reflection of our experience.

A brand new Kubota tractor, with all the necessary attachments, costs about $26,000. If that tractor can be kept busy doing field prep for $25 per acre – or working local road construction for $25 per hour – for, say, 1,000 acres (or hours) in a year, just look at the result:

1,000 hours at $25/hour = $25,000
Costs of operation at 30% = $7,500
Net income: $17,500

That results in an “earn-back period” (think ROI) of $26,000 ÷ $17,500 = 1.5 years. Not bad, huh? Sure makes sense to us. That initial investment of $26,000 produces annual operating income of $17,500 . . . and . . . it also provides a couple of jobs for the people needed to maintain and operate the machine.

Just think about it. $17,500 of annual income that was earned, not begged. Think of the self esteem that generates. That’s it for us. Not simply helping people. Instead, it’s all about helping people help themselves.

The end result of that is . . . HOPE. Hope for a better future. Hope for continuing to educate the kids. HOPE.

To quote Ray Bradbury:
. . . “Action is hope. There is no hope without action.”

That’s where we enter the picture . . . We can provide
the ACTION . . . leading to the Hope.
With your help we can help these people help themselves.

Circle of Hope logo

All you need to do is Click Here then click on the donate button you’ll see, designate an amount, and select the checkbox that says, “Make this a monthly donation.” It’s as easy as that.

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