Chicago based Dr. Warren Bruhl has become accustom to the long journey to Kenya, East Africa. Now traveling two or sometimes three times a year there, he is the director for non-profit Dreamweaver International. Though Bruhl was not always invested in non-profit work, he found a calling to serve under resourced people around the world when he left his successful pediatric chiropractic practice in Glencoe in 2011. Further, he recognized the work his mother and stepfather, Ken and Sandy Taylor, had created in Africa needed his assistance if it were to survive and grow to help the people who benefit from the charity.
Dreamweaver’s insightful mission and approach to the alleviation of poverty and other global challenges of the world hinges on a simple premise, “needy people have to become needed in order for poverty to end.” Bruhl adds, “the wise fable about giving a man a fish or teaching him how to fish is closer to the truth about charity than many realize. The fable goes, give a man a fish today and eats today, teach him how to fish and HE EATS FOR A LIFETIME.”
Dreamweaver has a mission that is spirited after this fable, “To Help the Needy Become Needed.” To accomplish their mission, they focus on three areas, EDUCATION, HEALTHCARE, and COMPASSION projects. On this recent trip to Kenya, Bruhl and his team of chiropractors, including myself, Dr. Jeff Kahrs, Dr. Angela Zolper, and Dr. Pete Pfeffer introduced a new program they hope will catch on and solve the food problems many schools suffer with in this region. It is not uncommon for some children in East Africa to not have any food at home and to eat one meal a day, a meal served at their school. But often schools struggle to provide meals that are nutritious with sufficient calories. The reason they struggle is often because schools lack funding and don’t have resources to provide anything beyond what they presently offer.
Our idea was, “what if we could come up with a way to create a sustainable system for the village to buy their own food on a regular basis?” There thinking was that instead of an outside charity like Dreamweaver or other donors always helping a local school with money to buy food, what if the school was able to fund their own food program? We then spoke to the local leaders, Chief Jackson and Secretary Benson, of the Oliseti Boma and they agreed they would rather fund their own food program than depend on outside donations. Further, they recognized as lifelong herdsmen able to raise livestock for money, a program that helps them develop a community livestock business would work and also allow reinvestment. Moreover, the project if successful could be used as a model for other communities allowing Oliseti to offer help locally to schools unable to operate such a program.
Launching the program on the recent trip, called Bulls & Billy Goats, leaders of Dreamweaver went to the local market and personally purchased the animals with leaders of Oliseti. Then the animals were presented to the Oliseti Boma and goals and hopeful outcomes were communicated so everyone was in agreement and ready to work to make the new program become a success.
Bruhl adds, “while this may seem like a logical solution to an ongoing food problem in Africa, this idea of investing in livestock for the community to fund food programs has never been tried there. Many charities consistently spend money on needs and seem to miss the bigger point about charity.” Bruhl continues, “charity was never meant to be a sustainable hand-out for a lifetime, it’s meant to give people a lift and then encourage their own work to maintain themselves.”
As Bruhl and other leaders of Dreamweaver consider carefully the projects they execute on and implement, they are consistent in examining does this program “help needy people become needed and independent?” If the program moves closer to that goal, then Bruhl’s team retains the project. But if it doesn’t they make adjustments or discontinue the work since ultimately it will fail anyway as many outside aid projects have in Africa and other countries.
Bruhl believes a revision and a new way of administering charity has to evolve and he looks forward to being part of that revolution in charity. His recent book, Wavers & Beggars – New Insight and Hope to End Poverty and Global Challenges, is part of the effort he is using to educate and shift the thinking in charity.
For more information about Dreamweaver visit www.dreamweaver911.org.
For more information about Bruhl’s new book, visit www.waversandbeggars.com