Last night a great conversation and a poorly timed cup of coffee kept me up into unreasonable hours. I checked my email before bed and found a request from one of my colleagues: Could I come up with a one-sentence soundbite that could be easily shared with busy business people, like rising life expectancy or something?
It’s a good idea – people often don’t have time for longer stories. But last night I couldn’t think of what that line might be. This is what I wrote back.
“As for the one sentence, that’s tough. I can’t give any hard stats because I don’t have hard stats about things like life expectancy or the like.
“What I can say is this: I show up to Acholi Quarters every day and ask these women to work hard. I ask them to put in a lot more hours than they’d like doing things that are difficult and unintuitive, like learning any new skill. And sometimes they complain and they ask for extra days and they say there is too much to learn. And I don’t budge. And the next day they come with their work done, and I give them more work. And they keep coming back.
“And all the while I see them wearing new clothes and passing healthy babies around the room, sometimes to me. And they tell me individually that “this money is making a lot of difference in our lives.” And I hear about children who used to work with their mother in the rock quarry now going to school and preparing for university. And about women finally giving birth without fear because they can afford basic medical services. And I hear that these women who were once homeless refugees are buying land and building the foundations of houses that their families will call homes for decades to come.
“And every day they keep coming back to work harder than they’d like. Because they have hope. Because they can see that through this business they can provide stability, healthcare, education – all the catalysts of generational change, of a family launching itself from poverty to prosperity.
I’ll look at boiling that down into a sentence tomorrow. For now, this will have to do :)”