MEDA is on the move. With projects in 60 countries around the world building on partnerships with hundreds of local leaders and businesses, there is no shortage of MEDA momentum as staff strive to alleviate poverty through savvy business solutions.
The flurry of activity is not limited to seemingly far-away corners of the world.
MEDA supporters in the United States and Canada interact with MEDA’s mission through an increasingly diverse lineup of year-round events utilizing local leadership.
Look no further than Central Pennsylvania where, last month, MEDA events filled constituents’ calendars from the Delaware Valley area to Lancaster County.
100+ gather for record-setting MEDA Lancaster Chapter breakfast
MEDA Lancaster Chapter president Hans Weaver had a feeling turnout might be high, but he had no way of knowing that over 100 people would show up for a 7:30 a.m. weekday breakfast. The Sept. 19 event featured Lancaster powerhouse, the High® Companies, and was held at the company’s newly opened S. Dale High Leadership Center.
Since its inception as a small depression-era welding company in the early 1930s, High Companies has grown into a multi-business conglomerate employing over 2,500.
Despite breathtaking success, High Companies remains committed to core values notably similar to MEDA’s – quality, innovation and integrity.
Tuesday morning’s event participants included MEDA president Allan Sauder and members of both the S. Dale & Sadie High and Cal & Janet High families.
Following a MEDA update by Sauder, High corporate secretary Robin Stauffer gave a presentation that included a special Q&A with chair emeritus S. Dale High. Tours rounded out the morning lineup.
“We enjoyed hosting the Lancaster MEDA event here at the Leadership Center,” shared S. Dale High. “We appreciate MEDA's approach to alleviating poverty around the world by encouraging an entrepreneurial ‘business-like’ approach. Providing basic capital through micro-lending and coupling that with mentoring and intellectual capital has generated family-supporting results,” he said. “It was great to see the growth of the organization and the obvious passion of MEDA's members.”
Weaver added, “I was overwhelmed with the support that the Mennonite business community showed at the event. It’s due, in part, to the success and support of this community that MEDA has continued to thrive.”
Women unite to support MEDA project in Ethiopia
“I’ve always had a heart for the world and for women…so WEW seems like a natural fit.”
That was the consensus of first-time Women Empowering Women (WEW) attendee Angela Freed.
Despite a full schedule balancing her young family’s growing list of commitments, Freed made a point to attend the Sept. 21 WEW event in the Delaware Valley area. A similar event took place two days earlier in Lancaster City.
“I am still listening to and discussing the impressions of what I learned with my friends who joined me,” Freed shared.
New to WEW? Women Empowering Women with MEDA provides an opportunity for local groups of women to learn about issues facing women in developing countries, and to empower them with a generous donation to a featured MEDA project.
Gatherings are open to all and typically include light fare, music and a MEDA presentation and activity.
The September WEW gatherings in Pennsylvania focused on women in Ethiopia. Through MEDA’s EMERTA (Ethiopians Motivating Enterprises to Rise in Trade and Agri-business) project, women are receiving the training and market connections they need to grow their businesses.
“It really is remarkable the amount of labor and time the women contribute to their homes, families, and society there. It makes me reflect on what my work here is doing, not only for those around me locally, but what I can do globally, as well,” said Freed.
Why It Matters
In turbulent times, progress may seem as far away as many of the 60 countries where MEDA works.
Change, however, starts close to home. Local initiatives such as MEDA Chapters and WEW are important tools in creating a wave with ripple effects felt worldwide:
Beyond raising essential dollars, they provide meaningful engagement opportunities and essential awareness of MEDA, perpetuating the hopeful and ever-true belief that alleviation of extreme poverty is within reach.
Senior development officer Ruth Leaman witnesses the building MEDA momentum routinely as she travels the Pennsylvania region to meet with constituents.
“MEDA has a compelling vision for our world, and it’s exciting to see the increased energy and activity gathering around MEDA in the Lancaster community and beyond. MEDA friends, both new and old, are engaging with MEDA’s mission in creative ways and supporting MEDA’s mission at significant new levels,” Leaman shared.
Considering adding an upcoming MEDA event to your calendar?
“We eagerly extend the invitation to everyone to join with us in creating enduring livelihoods and more peaceful communities, both at home and abroad. There has never been a better time to engage with MEDA,” Leaman said.