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The Reckoning - Forest of Hope

61 Surplus is proud to partner with an organization, The Reckoning, that has reached Central America, Ukraine, Uganda, Burundi and Kenya. The Reckoning is "overcoming poverty with opportunity" (thereckoning.org). They have seen the effects of hand-outs and how it causes chronic poverty. That's not to say that helping those in need by giving them fresh water and food is ineffective! It does help, but it also creates a mindset of dependability and it's not a long-term solution to end poverty.

The Reckoning has become an efficient organization that is addressing poverty with micro-loans, business training, and development initiatives. They're creating opportunities for people that can't afford education. People that want to end their cycle of poverty and sustain themselves. The Reckoning is giving people the abilities and skill to work and maintain jobs to support their families.

"Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life. While poverty persists, there is no true freedom." Nelson Mandela

61 Surplus had the privilege to help with a couple of projects that The Reckoning was working on. We were able to help start a business in Bamba Forge, Uganda to create jobs for orphan boys who had reached the age of 18 and needed to be taught a skill set. The boys are then given job opportunities that pertain to their skills.

(Picture: A group of young men and leaders in Bamba Forge)

The Reckoning started a tree-planting project, Forest of Hope, with a group of widows in 2007. This strategy addressed both the poverty and the deforestation in the area. They planted hybrid Eucalyptus trees because they grow straight and fast.

In Sub-Saharan Africa there are almost 40 million orphans and many of them will not be able to receive formal schooling, thus being trapped by generational poverty. The widows created a plan to plant additional trees and use the profits to cover the costs of schooling for children.

Forest of Hope is now "Fighting deforestation, providing a livelihood for widows, and investing in future generations" (thereckoning.org).

And this is where 61 Surplus was able to step in. With the funds provided, we were able to purchase a sawmill for Forest of Hope to provide easier and more efficient tree harvesting to fund the education of hundreds of orphans in Africa.

(Picture: Trying out the new sawmill at Forest of Hope)