The Current Problem

According to the World Bank, almost half of the world’s population struggles to get their basic needs met (see Piecing Together the Poverty Puzzle). Brazil in particular, where DreamRoot has launched much is work, has an estimated 25 percent of its population living below the poverty line and this number has been rising in recent years. However, the percentage of low-income families struggling to make ends meet in Brazil, particularly the poorer region of the Northeast is much higher than this.

When an individual is unsure if they will have enough to eat, where they will sleep, or if they will have safety or security today, they do not have the luxury to plan for tomorrow, withal dream for a better future. This is equally true and prevalent in both developed and developing countries. Unfortunately, in the majority of developing countries, the environment is not set-up for individuals (kids and adults) to dream outside of the confines of their current dire circumstances.

The cycles of poverty in these environments are reinforced through poor rule of law, limited infrastructure, a weak macroeconomic environment, sub-par education and healthcare systems, and corrupt institutions. The proper functioning of these basic components is critical for an individual to realize and invest their talents and skills in meaningful ways. Doing so allows them to improve the social and economic situation of not only their own lives but also their family, their community, their nation, and the world.

At the root of all of these problems is a lack of ethical leadership and practical education. Where there are broken homes and absent or abusive parents, there is loss of identity, direction, and confidence in a child. The passing of unjust laws and regulations leaves way to the oppression of entire industries and communities. The lack of paved roads or running water causes isolation and preventable tragedies. And, where there is exclusive education and healthcare systems, there is loss of human potential in all of the aforementioned areas; and it comes at a devasting cost to every single one of us. When leaders are not equipped and empowered to take their stand and contribute their talents and skills to society, injustice, oppression, violence and abuse are rampant.

Everything described in the above paragraph is the daily experience of the majority of those, particularly in lower socio-economic conditions living in Recife, Brazil as well as every other city in developing countries, and even in developed countries.

The outward conditions of poverty are often a representation of a poverty mindset that too many are trapped in. It is a mindset of lack. And this sentiment debilitates sustained action for the collective benefit. It is prevalent within rich and poor communities alike and comes at an enormous cost to everyone. Rather than being a zero-sum game, as an individual rises to their purpose and potential, we all, as a connected society, rise to a new thriving level. One person’s breakthrough is everyone’s breakthrough.

Even within the limitations of the world’s current landscape, there are immense possibilities. There is a vast population of people whose voices, due to their life’s circumstances, are being silenced. There is brilliant talent hidden within impoverished communities that just need a chance. Many of these individuals have the cure and solutions to the codes we as society have been trying to crack. As we come to recognize their value and honor and celebrate their lives, the ability to dream higher is unlocked, people begin to believe in themselves and others, and they begin to change the world.

Our Solution

Yes, the need is great. While the problem may seem overwhelming and complex, the solution starts at the microlevel with individuals equipped and prepared to take a stand in their own households, communities and workplaces.

There are no lack of programs, organizations and initiatives aimed at ending poverty and increasing human potential and economic development. Many are having an incredible impact on the world. What those programs have in common is the education and equipping of leaders. The initiatives that have failed to take root have tended to overlook the foundational factors that spark the creation of new perspectives and ways of life: valuing long-term relationship over short-term transactions where (1) a re-education takes place through learned skills and character development and (2) new market creation and economic opportunity are created.

All throughout struggling communities around the world there are already several amazing people who have a vision and are working diligently within their local communities to assist others and effect change. But they themselves are in need of encouragement and support. DreamRoot’s approach is to come alongside these leaders to serve and strengthen them. At the core of all programs are mentorship and consultation, education and training, operational strategy and resource allocation, and networking and connection to a wider community so that leaders are mobilized to maximize and multiple their impact in their communities and see lives transformed through long-term sustainable and effective operations. Essentially, we come along side of the leaders and participants to catalyze dreams and create an environment for those dreams to take root and grow to unimaginable heights and widths.

DreamRoot concentrates its operational activity on investing in local leaders and entrepreneurial initiatives that are focused on pouring into and raising up other leaders to transform their own lives, households, community, the nations, and generations to come. Our 5 major focus areas consist of: (1) Jiu Jitsu and other sports, fitness, and self-defense, (2) health and wellness, (3) basic education and life skills assistance, (4) social entrepreneurship, (5) community basic needs initiatives. Our programs utilize these focus areas as a vehicle for training and building up leaders.

The two main target beneficiaries that DreamRoot works with are local leaders who are working within an under-resourced community and the students/participants of that leader’s project. We will work with our partner leaders to understand the unique needs and challenges of their particular circumstances and tailor the project initiatives to address their unique environment. We define leadership in terms of influence and personal service. When assessing potential local partner leaders, we look for individuals who are already working or volunteering within their local communities to effect change.

Pivotal to our approach is on-going open dialogue marked by trust. DreamRoot beneficiaries have a voice at the planning and feedback table where mutual respect, accountability, buy-in, transparency, and relationships are built. This also facilitates monitoring, evaluation, and refinement of the projects for maximum effectiveness, all of which is to be a core competency of DreamRoot.

The practical impact of DreamRoot’s work is measured in lives and communities improved. Specific metrics will be identified, set and tracked for each project. Success will be viewed in terms of (1) character development, (2) learning, educational attainment and skills acquired, (3) economic progress, career advancement and market creation, (4) reduction of violence, abuse, drug addiction and illegal

activity, (5) involvement in community and volunteer positions, (6) the raising up of more leaders and multiplication of sustainable project initiatives, (7) the influence on the wider public and private sector, including government rulings and educational policies.

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