Meeting Jean-Paul Tiendrebeogo
We live in a wonderful country. It is never perfect, but we have more opportunities to pursue our passions than anywhere else in the world. While it is true that I worked very hard for what I have achieved, I also know I had the wind at my back. Born in this free country, to loving and supportive parents, my opportunities surpassed those of most of the world. Most of my time and energy has been on achieving my dreams, not searching for my next meal or glass of water.
I read an amazing book about two years ago, “My Faith or My Family”, by Jean-Paul Tiendrebeogo. His life was very different from yours or mine. He grew up in the African country of Burkina-Faso, one of the poorest nations in the world. He lost his parents and siblings at a young age; and, he lived on the streets, hiding, as his uncle sought to kill him. Then, as a young teenager, through a series of unlikely events, he was adopted by an American family in Bellefontaine, Ohio. Once here, he became educated, and received his Masters degree.
I found the book and story so compelling, I reached out to John-Paul. Over the past two years I have met his wife, two kids (and a third one on the way); and, in the process, we have become dear friends.
There are two fundamental views we share. The first is the words from the Good Book, “To whom much is given, much is expected.” I have been fortunate in business, enabling me to provide a comfortable life for my family. With that comes a responsibility to give back, to help others.
The second view we have in common is our belief in the basic principles of business and commerce. There are many wonderful non-profit organizations, doing incredible work both here and around the world. I support many of them, and they do an amazing job. However, business approaches problems differently than non-profits. In business, you can not play it safe. You must take risks, act fast, and challenge the status quo. I believe there are many business principles that can be very useful in solving the social concerns of our day.
Kingdom Investments International
There are many non-profits, with well intentions, sending donations to the people of Africa. However, John-Paul understood that many of his fellow Africans desired something more than just handouts. They actually desire what we in this country have… opportunity. The opportunity to become non-dependent. The opportunity to control their own destinies. In fact sending donations, such as clothes and shoes, can often cause more harm than good. It can damage the delicate economic balance of these small villages.
This is where Jean-Paul comes in. He realized he needed to help the local citizens to build their own businesses. Therefore, he established a new type of non-profit, one built around the principles of business and commerce. He named it Kingdom Investments International. His vision has been to help the villages build self-sustaining economies, eliminating their dependence on external hand-outs. He does this through education and training, granting business start-up loans, and eliminating the many barriers to commerce.
• There are many potential entrepreneurs in these villages, but they lack the basic training and funding neccesary to start their business. Therefore Kingdom Investments provides training, mentorship, and interest-free loans to get them started. As the money is repaid, it is granted to new entrepreneurs, continuing the cycle.
• Most families spend 6-8 hours a day walking to collect fresh water, a burden placed primarily on the women. Therefore Kingdom Investments is building new wells, to be owned by the people in the communities. They are providing safe and clean water to the families, while also freeing the women to pursue other opportunities.
• Sixty percent of the people of Burkina-Faso have cataracts or other vision problems, yet there are only 13 ophthalmologists in the entire nation. Therefore Kingdom Investments is bringing in American doctors for the surgeries, while also providing free education and corrective glasses to the people of the nation.
• Kingdom Investments has created The School of Leadership & Development. The school teaches skills such as farm management, financial management, and economics.
John-Paul has many success stories, many of them are documented on his website. kingdominvestment.org.
Kingdom Investments is business focused; but, it is still a non-profit. Their money comes through donations from people like you and me.
I do believe charity begins at home, and most of our giving focuses on aiding local children. However I also know we are the wealthiest nation in the world, and Burkina-Faso is one of the poorest. They need our help.
I have no affiliation with Kingdom Investments. I am simply a friend of John-Paul, believe in his vision, and donate to his organization; and, can personally vouch for both John-Paul and the mission of Kingdom Investment. If you agree with his vision, it is worth checking out. It is worth considering supporting his vision.
As John-Paul says, “Your gift becomes a loan to someone raising themselves and their family out of poverty. We train them to make a success of their business; they grow that business and create jobs in their community. Their children can go to school, they can receive better healthcare and better nutrition, and eventually they will pay the loan forward through Kingdom Investment to another person in their community.”
You can also down load John-Paul’s book for free here.