What do the cities of Salem, Oregon and Pune, India have in common? At first glance, not much. But, this past January we discovered people from both cities shared the same vision to serve women and children at risk and the results were exciting.
Here at Loom, our goal is to partner with Local Experts around the world doing life-changing work with the vulnerable in their communities. We come alongside these change agents, bringing training, relationship and resources to help them become sustainable, building their capacity for long term success. An exciting way we’ve seen this happen is a partnership between a Local Expert in India and a church in Salem, Oregon — Church on the Hill (COTH).
It all began in July 2015, when Loom hosted a Celebrating Children Workshop here in Portland. Steve Kilpatrick, a Loomer who is also an elder at COTH, invited his church members to attend. He also arranged for a Local Expert visiting from India, Anupama Dongardive, to speak at the church one Sunday. Anu shared her own story of growing up an orphan and later being widowed as a young mother. In spite of her deep loss, she spoke of her unwavering determination to serve those most vulnerable in her city of Pune — orphans and widows. Many left church that day awed and inspired by her vision and knew they wanted to be part of it somehow, some way. The dream of partnering with Anu and her staff was born.
A year and half later, those same people realized that dream. In January, Loom organized a Woven trip with a small team from the church and they traveled to India to visit Anu and explore how they could partner with her.
It’s exciting to see a church connecting with Local Experts and highlighting the power of partnership in creating change. Long-term, their goal is to work with Anu in multiplying the Celebrating Children Workshop across India by equipping local leaders to teach and train others. They are also exploring other tools Loom has to offer as possible ways to connect with more Local Experts in communities around the nation, bringing more widespread change.
It’s our joy to create the space and opportunity for partnerships to begin and then, to step out of our role in the middle and see them continue and flourish. Together, change really is possible!