In the United States, job opportunities abound in most parts of the country. Many factories, stores, and other enterprises have “Help Wanted” signs in their windows or ads in the paper. A man who is willing to work can usually find something to do to provide for his family.

We can be quick to accuse poor people in other cultures of laziness and poor work ethics. Often, however, these people have a desire to work to provide for their families; they simply lack opportunities or are discouraged from past attempts and failures. People in developing countries are often resourceful and accustomed to improvising. With some help and encouragement, they can use their resourcefulness and ingenuity to support themselves.

CAM’s goal, through the Family-Self-Support program, is to give resourceful individuals the gift of opportunity so they can successfully provide for themselves. Funds are provided to start or expand a small family business or to purchase equipment needed to operate the business. CAM staff members follow up to provide encouragement and teaching that can help recipients improve their businesses.

Families in various countries have received help through Family-Self-Support and are involved in a variety of occupations, some of them unique. Vasile Surin from Moldova received help from this program to expand his shoe recycling business. He collects old shoes and takes them to a shoe company that melts down the shoes to make new ones. For a certain amount of old shoes, Vasile gets one new pair of shoes that he can sell. Because of the help he received, the business has grown and even provides enough work for his three teenage sons. Times have become increasingly difficult in Moldova because of Russian embargoes on Moldovan products. Having a source of steady income is a great blessing for Vasile and his family.

Dmitriy in Ukraine had been doing auto body repair for several years, but he needed a larger shop and more tools. After receiving a gift from Family-Self-Support he said, “Thank you, dear brothers and sisters, for giving me a chance to provide for my family!”

In Romania, the Timciuc family was able to start a small greenhouse. Even if they don’t have buyers for all the vegetables they produce, food for the winter and work for the sixteen children are added blessings. The lessons the children learn while working to raise their own food will stay with them as they grow older.

In the West Bank, a Palestinian territory, Abu Daud does construction work to support his family, but he doesn’t always have work. Even when he does, the work is difficult for him because of back problems. The Family-Self-Support program helped Abu Daud start a small business of raising and selling rabbits to supplement his income. A CAM staff member in Israel says, “A small herd of rabbits is a valuable resource for a family struggling to stay afloat financially.”