If you’ve ever wanted to change the world, you may have despaired at the seemingly insurmountable obstacles. It might bring you hope to learn that the Columbia-Willamette chapter of Women of Vision has shown that it can change the world through some of their projects.

“We’re a group of women who are really passionate about ending extreme poverty,” Anne Huiskes, chapter chair of the Columbia-Willamette chapter, said.

Their mission to end poverty focuses on numerous pieces of the puzzle, which are implemented over long periods in the communities they change, anywhere from 10 to 20 years. Currently, the organization is focused on three main projects in three different countries: child labor in Bangladesh, small farming communities in Honduras, and Syrian refugees in the Middle East.

If that sounds like a lot, it is.

Anne Huiskes

“We’re one of the largest relief and development organizations in the world,” Sandy Grubb, who serves on the Board of Directors for World Vision, said.

World Vision was founded in 1950, and since then has expanded to include the Women of Vision section of the organization. Today, there are 42,000 staff, and millions of beneficiaries in about one hundred countries that World Vision aids. One quarter of what the organization does is relief. The other three-quarters is community development.

Community development takes a lot of planning, and there is no quick fix.

“We’ll sit down and plan with [communities] what they need, what we’re going to do, what we’re going to provide. So we’ll be in an area for ten, fifteen, twenty years,” Grubb said.

Nancy Johns

But Women of Vision has seen a lot of progress with their projects. In Honduras, they’ve been able to teach small community farmers better farming techniques to be more resilient in vulnerable climates, while also providing cleaner water and better sanitation in communities.

In Bangladesh, Women of Vision has supported families experiencing poverty to get their children out of child labor. They give interested families a stipend, and support their child’s education and future plans.

“What’s so exciting about this, is we see this as kind of a pilot program. We’re finding that it’s really working. If this continues to go well, it’ll spread,” Huiskes said.

In the Middle East, Women of Vision is working to support Syrian refugees.

People interested in being involved with Women of Vision should visit their website: womenofvision.org, and look at their calendar of events. Their kickoff event is Saturday, October 13, from 9 to 11 a.m. at Lake Grove Presbyterian Church. Huiskes also says that Women of Vision’s goal this year was to raise $175,000, and they are very close to reaching that target.

Huiskes believes prospective volunteers will not regret giving of their time or money to support Women of Vision:

“It fulfills a part of your soul that you can’t fulfill in any other way,” she said.