Eleven self-help community projects receive funding

SDOP disburses over $180,000 at home and in Belize

February 23, 2015

SDOP National Committee members visit with representatives  of the Trio Farmers and Seine Bight Village projects in Belize.

SDOP National Committee members visit with representatives of the Trio Farmers and Seine Bight Village projects in Belize. —Courtesy of SDOP International Task Force.

HOUSTON, TX

The Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People (SDOP) has approved grants totaling $180,110 to 11 self-help projects in the United States and Belize. The money for the projects comes from the One Great Hour of Sharing offering.

The national SDOP recently met in Houston at Spring Branch Presbyterian Church. The program enables members and non-members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to form partnerships with oppressed and disadvantaged people in order to help them achieve self-sufficiency. SDOP is also focusing significant funding on projects in Belize to strengthen partnerships in specific regions of the world.  PC (U.S.A.) Intermediary partners work directly with communities of economically poor, oppressed and disadvantaged people in different parts of the world.

The projects and grants:

  • Calumet Laurium Holistic Senior Center, Calumet, MI, $15,000 was founded and is operated  by low-income and disabled senior citizens, many with diabetes, to help themselves overcome isolation and develop better self-care and management of their diabetes.
  • We the People of Detroit (Detroit Water Crisis Hotline), Detroit, MI, $15,000 is an advocacy group fighting against  an aggressive campaign to disconnect the water services of residents who are more than 60 days behind in payments or have  an overdue balance above $150.  The project will provide short term water supplies for members to avert a public health crisis, restore water to affected and high risk members and implement a policy to ensure fresh clean water is delivered to low income residents at an affordable cost. 
  • Unity in Our Community Time Bank, Detroit, MI, $12,700 is an alternative economic model to assist members in their efforts to formalize the exchange of people's time and talents to meet one another's needs without exchanging money. 
  • Asbury Park-Statewide Education Organizing Committee, Asbury Park, NJ, $15,000. The group members need Creole and Spanish translators to enable parents to advocate and understand what programs their children are being assigned to. With the translation, parents are being empowered to demand better relations with school administrators for the improvement of the schools and better opportunities for their children. 
  • Bonded Women (Tailoring, Alterations & Consignment Group), Claxton, GA, $15,000 is an economic development effort by low-income women that have come together to make and alter clothes in order to operate a consignment shop.
  • Northern Cheyenne Utilities Commission, Lame Deer, MT, $15,000 to assist with upgrades and long-term delayed maintenance needs for fresh potable water and sewer lines throughout the five districts of the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. 
  • The Next Door, Inc. (Roots Community Greenhouse), Hood River, OR, $15,000 for a project that will create an expanded community garden with a tool shed, infrastructure for potable water at the garden site, and training for development of a retail outlet in the local farmer's market. 
  • African Immigrant Support Group, San Jose, CA, $15,000. This group of women primarily from East Africa have come together to build a strong social support system by holding language classes, vocational training, social networking, orientation and referral, as well as fitness and health education. 

International Projects (2014/2015) 

  • Sandy Beach Women's Cooperative Society Limited, Hopkins, Belize, $22,500 for the purchase of an additional cabaña, extension of kitchen facilities and developing proper marketing strategies to effectively market the cooperative business owned and operated by this group of indigenous Garifuna women.
  • Trio Farmers in Development Pre-Cop, Toledo District, Belize,$20,000 to enable farmers of this cooperative to try new methods of growing seedlings in "tunnels" that will improve the yield of their crops. 
  • Seine Bight Village Council, Seine Bight Village, Belize,$19,910 to assist this indigenous community in revitalizing its village through painting blighted homes, installing speed humps to slow traffic and restoring a local reservoir.  Group members will install signage and educate the community about health, safety and unity as first steps toward attracting and benefitting from the burgeoning tourist industry in the region.

Guests at the SDOP Committee meetings included Spring Branch Presbyterian Church pastor, Laurey Murphy and Kristi Click, designated associate pastor; Mike Cole, general presbyter for the Presbytery of the Covenant, pastor Mauricio Chacon of Iglesia Cristiana Fuente de Esperanza, and other community guests. Committee members worshipped in local congregations.

SDOP is constantly looking for ways to engage communities of economically poor, oppressed and disadvantaged people in partnership as well as promote and interpret the ministry in Presbyterian congregations. To learn more about SDOP, visit www.pcusa.org/sdop or http://www.facebook.com/SelfDevelopmentOfPeoplesdop. For information on an upcoming community workshop for community-based groups interested in learning about possible future partnerships, to set up a workshop, to arrange for a member of the SDOP Committee to visit your church to Preach or do a Minute for Mission, contact the National Office at:

Self-Development of People
100 Witherspoon Street
Louisville, KY 40202-1396
Toll Free Telephone:
English (888) 728-7228 X5791/5792
Spanish (888) 728-7228 X5790
Fax: (502) 569-8001