The Gratitude Framework: Belief. Hope. Generosity.
The power of gratitude and the belief in creating a more just world.
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I love being with family and friends, and who doesn’t love an amazing meal? But what I love most about Thanksgiving is that for one day, we actually celebrate gratitude.
To me gratitude is a way of life, more of a spiritual path or a framework to follow for creating the world I want to live in…a world that I can be proud to leave my children. That means recognizing the existing beauty and abundance around us. Believing in ourselves and others, and in the endless possibilities to create positive, lasting change. Having the hope and confidence to move forward. And celebrating the generosity of those who believe in us and our goals.
This year, I’m grateful for so many things, personally and professionally. My amazing husband and my children, who are growing into wise, caring young men. I’m grateful for the women we work with at Street Business School, who are lifting their families out of poverty, one small business at a time. I’m grateful for the commitment of my colleagues, partners, supporters and friends, who believe in our vision, and through their hard work, generosity and understanding, are helping realize a world without poverty.
Three years ago, we were working in Uganda. We were doing our own training, impacting around 300 women per year. Today, we’re in 17 countries. We have 81 partners who share our vision. And we anticipate that through these partners, we’ll train 30,195 women, lifting an estimated 150,975 children out of poverty. And while I’m grateful for our growth, I’m even more grateful for what these numbers represent. Women, families, businesses—individual lives and entire communities transformed.
Teddy Namuyiga is just one example. She was desperate. Her youngest daughter was born deaf and because of this, her husband had left her. She was alone with her three daughters, earning less than one USD a day, doing whatever she could to feed her children. She had no hope for the future.
What’s more, in Uganda, family is everything. Weddings, funerals, important decisions, all are made with family input. But Teddy was at a loss there too. When members of her family passed away, nobody told her because she didn’t have the money to go to the funeral and they didn’t want to pay. It was like she was invisible.
Then we met Teddy and she received business training. It gave her hope. She started out by buying chickens and selling eggs. She then bought a water tank and started selling potable water to her community. She added a lot more chickens, some pigs and even cows and hired some employees to help her manage her business. Her income soared. She believed in herself and now wanted to fulfill her dream to start a small school in her community. She saved and invested her money and today, also runs a school, with more than 100 students.
Teddy is now considered well off. Her daughters are all in school, the youngest is attending one of the only two schools for the deaf in the entire country. Their lives have changed. Now, whenever there is an important decision to be made, Teddy’s family comes to her for advice. She told me, “Now, I am somebody.” Her gratitude is twofold. She’s grateful for the ability to start her businesses and earn a steady, growing and sustainable income. As important, she’s grateful for the opportunity to transform her life, step out of the shadows, and be “seen” by others.
So during this time of Thanksgiving, I’m blessed, honored and grateful to do what I do. I get to connect with women like Teddy who are determined to change their lives and the lives of future generations. I’m incredibly grateful especially to those people who have invested in our work. Those of you who have parted with precious resources because you have “seen” our vision. Because of this, we have even more to do to eradicate poverty, as part of a growing global community.
I recently received an email from Maria Omare, SBS Advisory Board member and Executive Director and Founder of The Action Foundation, an SBS Global Catalyst Partner. She was referring a potential new partner to us. When I emailed my thanks, Maria said, “I am always spreading the SBS magic because I believe in its power.”
This one sentence struck me so deeply. Because what I realized is that the magic and power of SBS is all of us. Thank you for your belief and your support. I am truly grateful.