As GAIA Trustees, we are encouraged to visit Malawi and witness the organization’s programs live and in-person. It’s an act of good governance, transparency, and accountability. It’s also heart-breaking and inspiring.
This summer we traveled to southern Malawi and attached names and faces to the wonderful statistics of hope and progress in the HIV battle (new HIV infections are down; AIDS deaths are down; the number of orphans is declining), and to the sobering data suggesting that the challenge remains daunting (most cases of HIV remain untreated) and the suffering is real.
When we met a young disabled orphan disabled by polio in Matipwiri Village, however, statistics were far from our minds. What we experienced instead was the granular impact of GAIA: Promise had been outfitted with a customized wheelchair which would allow his grandmother (and caregiver) to deliver him to school for the first time. His smile was infectious — and his new-found mobility, life-changing!
We found that stories like Promise’s were not mere anecdotes, but the strands of GAIA’s web of cost-effective and sustainable programming. As Board members, the experience satisfied both our hearts and our minds.
We’ll never look at a financial report or program dashboard in quite the same way.
Ruth Thurmond Scott and Christine Simpson Brent