IICD’s Mission for Humanity: Be the Change the World Needs
Sep 29, 2011 03:13PM
“It is not given to us to know which acts, or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good. What’s needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts… We know that it does not take ‘everyone on Earth’ to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second or hundredth gale.” — Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Beyond the hundredth gale, it would not be surprising to see a determined group of volunteer activists from the non-profit Institute for International Cooperation and Development (IICD) still standing shoulder-to-shoulder to help the infirm and elderly, as well as the children and poverty-stricken that are in need of hospitalization, nursing, food, clothing and clean drinking water. Although countless actions of IICD volunteers have accumulated since 1997, more hearts, hands and feet are now needed to fight poverty and bring about humanizing conditions for all people.
Extensive research to find a non-political, non-government-sponsored and non-religious organization that focused its humanitarian efforts on education and empowering people to help themselves led Anthony Nugent to IICD’s 18-month program, Fighting Shoulder to Shoulder with the Poor. After wrapping up his life as a ceramic artist and owner of a health club in Puerto Rico, Nugent enrolled in the IICD California school as a volunteer.
“When I was in my early 40s, I took time out to reflect on how fortunate I was to have all I’d ever dreamed of,” he recalls. “From those reflections, I concluded that because I had so much, I wanted to give back. But, I didn’t know where to start until I found IICD, which taught me what I needed to know about being part of a team that works together with the poor to end poverty.”
Initially, Nugent intended to return to Puerto Rico after giving two years to humanitarian efforts, but IICD education and volunteer experience changed his mind. Today, he is IICD’s program manager. “My life changed and I stayed on after I saw the difference we made by working with people in Mozambique, Africa, while they learned hands-on about water-source protection, balanced nutrition, personal hygiene and composting toilets, as well as how to avoid malaria and HIV, and how to grow their own food,” explains Nugent. “Nothing before that gave me such a sense of purpose and satisfaction, as well as a sense of brotherhood and belonging.”
Since 1997, IICD, in cooperation with the International Humana People to People Movement and One World University (OWU), has been providing a unique education for individuals that not only dare to confront, but also to resolve, today’s significant issues with modern, lively, inclusive and sustainable solutions, all the while holding the vision of a future for “We the People.”
Humana People to People members in Africa and India established Teacher Training Colleges, training rural primary school teachers to face challenges in extending primary education to all children, to build schools for the future and to engage the local communities in the process. OWU was established in order to train qualified teachers for the Teacher Training Colleges and is approved Bachelor of Arts degrees in Pedagogy, Fighting with the Poor, and Polyhistory (wide-learning).
Nugent, who serves beside other future-minded individuals that have learned to organize, work with diversity, lead and instruct in development, is among those that care about moving the world towards a better future for all. “While my heart is here and I want to stay, I tell anyone interested in our programs that after they’ve served here, they can go anywhere, because they’ll be in high demand.”
IICD Michigan, 5698 Dailey Rd., Dowagiac, MI. Call 510-734-6777 or visit IICDMichigan.org.