They say it takes a village to raise a child. At MATTER we understand the concept of “village” well. In fact, we rely on it. It takes a village, oftentimes a global village, to nurture life-changing projects from the infancy of initial ideas to their activation in the community. A recent project in the West African nation of Liberia offers a great example of how our village works together to make a difference in peoples’ lives.

Students outside of the school run by HOPE and CARE for Children in Liberia.

Outside the capital city of Monrovia, there is an organization dedicated to serving Liberia’s most vulnerable population: the orphans, widows, women, and children. For over ten years, HOPE and CARE for Children (HCC) has been operating an orphanage for over 50 children and a school educating 300 students from kindergarten through 12th grade. In an area with very little opportunity, HCC stands as a beacon of hope to the people.

With the success of its school and orphanage, HCC now wants to expand to include a clinic and a couple of farms that will help feed the children and provide income for their organization. Reaching across the ocean, they partnered with MATTER to help them bring their big idea to life.

And here’s where our “village” stepped in to help HCC’s light shine even brighter for the vulnerable women and children in Liberia.

With part of HCC’s vision being to start two farms, tractors were high on the list of items for MATTER to procure. One of the tractors came from a generous farmer in Washington state who donated his 1953 Ford Jubilee. A collector’s edition, the Jubilee model was built to celebrate Ford’s 50th anniversary and was only in production for two years. It was a beauty that needed some TLC to get her up and running again.

Gary and Max Schultz with the 1953 Jubilee tractor they repaired.

Thankfully, in our village we have a father and son team from Minnesota with extensive experience repairing farm machinery who generously volunteered their time to work on the tractor. Gary and Max Schultz spent approximately 40 hours in the MATTER warehouse replacing well-worn parts and getting the Jubilee ready for its new life in Africa.

In addition to the tractors, MATTER also procured a plow, an oil press (for a value-added business), two shade houses, tools, and other farm essentials. Items for their clinic came from our donating hospital partners here in the Midwest, another extension of our village. Just this week, everything was loaded into the shipping container and will soon be on its way to Liberia.

But that’s not all that MATTER is sending to HCC. To help them establish their resilient and diversified farms, we’re also sending our farm expert, and another member of our village, Eddy Cyphers. Originally a rancher from Montana, Eddy has helped MATTER establish nutrition gardens in Zimbabwe and Senegal by training the local farmers in innovative and sustainable farming practices. He’s also been part of MATTER’s international farm conferences at the Gorgui Dieng Center for Agricultural Excellence in Kebemer, Senegal for the past two years.

Eddy Cyphers loading the Jubilee tractor onto the shipping container bound for Liberia.

Eddy plans to spend up to four months with the people at HCC to ensure the success of their farms. It’s not easy work, but Eddy loves it. “The work we do is very beneficial and helps so many people. It’s always about more than just one community. Farmers from around the area come and see what we’re doing and take what they learn back to their own communities. We’re affecting so many people.”

Eddy was on hand to help load the shipment for Liberia. He’s looking forward to being at HCC when the container is unloaded. It’s always a favorite moment for him to see the looks on the faces of the people when they see the equipment and supplies come off the container. “It’s like Christmas. Everyone is so happy. The items in these containers are life-changing for the people receiving them.”

MATTER simply could not help our partners realize their dreams without our village making it possible. Our village is MATTERnation. Because everyone matters, everyone can make a difference in our world. From material goods and financial support to education and experience to time and talent, everyone has something they can give. And when everyone gives their something, amazing things happen.

What is your something? How can you contribute to our global village and be part of MATTERnation? We can help you find ways to give. Currently, we need more tractors and farm equipment for upcoming farm projects. We’re also seeking support for students in Zimbabwe to receive a world-class education through the MATTER Innovation Hub. Check out the many additional opportunities here.

Do you have a big idea that will change the world? Our village, MATTERnation, is ready to help you bring your big idea to life. Contact us today and let’s make a difference in peoples’ lives together!