Channel Initiative's mission has always been daring in its simplicity. We started last year, this month, very humbly, with just a few Google Hangouts, and Skype calls. We were and still are determined to seek out un-reached communities, and empower them to not only bring a decisive end to their poverty and extreme suffering, but to also use their strengths to do amazing things in their communities and their nations.
We resolved then, and stand by now, that we would not stay in the easy places, we would not compete with other organizations, or participate in the politics of aid. We decided that we would not choose issues, or people to address and serve, based on their acceptability and/or likability by the world, or their feel-good points. We thought then, and we know now, that there is no substitute for authentic on-the-ground service that looks past handouts and aid, and seeks to develop, impact and add value to real people's lives.
We don't always realize it, but it is nothing short of revolutionary for an organization to say and to enact, that on an institutional level, we will be dedicated, not to having the best looking website or the most-shared YouTube video, but instead, to relentlessly walk right there alongside real people, invest into them, fight for them and celebrate with them, when their struggles become nothing but distant memories of the shackles that once held them back.
Our mission is not only a few words on a piece of paper, but it is something that we live by, and something that is taking a fairly unprecedented stand. Our mission in a nut shell, is that in our institution, whether of small or large means, we will not lose our humanity. We will not forget that above all else, we are about faithfully serving people on the ground, being their voice when they cannot be, doggedly championing them, empowering them and channeling their amazing strengths and doing this all with excellence and authenticity.
Today marks the start of our first anniversary month and it's a thrilling time for us, to reflect on all that has taken place in the last year, and look forward to all that is yet to come. We want to take the time to celebrate, and rejoice, to give thanks to you all, and to praise the Lord for all that He has done, and all that is happening at this very moment.
But it is also a very serious time for us, because while we celebrate our first birthday and crossing that hurdle of the critical start-up year, we recognize that the work has really only just begun. We recognize that our mission statement and what we truly believe, sets us apart, and requires us to be discontent with where we are right now in our pursuit to serve others. It requires us to be totally and completely invested into what we do on the ground, more so than anything else, and we cannot ignore that right now, is an urgent place in time, for us and for the women of the DRC.
To quote Martin Luther King, "there is a fierce urgency in right now", and we cannot forget that, even amidst our celebrations and our thanksgiving for the very real accomplishments Channel has made, the war rages on in Congo, and real lives are lost every day.
The conflict does not wait for us as we raise funding, pregnancies don't pause until we can build this health center in the village, lives aren't put on hold each day we don't move and act and the urgency does not diminish the longer we wait. Each month, we lose an average of 5 women in our community in Eastern Congo, to painfully preventable causes, and each month is a constant reminder to me, and to us as a team, that we are very much in a battle against time to save lives.
This is an urgent and critical time, for us as an organization to regroup and to grow even stronger in this second year, but for the women we serve in the DRC it is even more greatly so, because their lives are on the line.
We want to remind you this month, not only that we have a lot to be thankful for, as the Channel Initiative community, but also that, we're in this for the long haul, and we don't walk away from what we have started. And start, we have! Thanks to you all, we have reached about 150 women this year with health education and resources that have impacted their lives, and have taken amazing strides with our partners to see a clinic be built next year.
As a community, whether you are a donor, supporter or partner, we have committed to prioritizing the lives of Congolese women, and ensuring that they live to see peace in their nation. This is not something to be taken lightly, nor is it something that will happen soon, or that will come early. It is a battle, that we must hold steadfast in, and be constantly aware of the urgency it requires of us.
So for the month of September, join us in celebrating a spectacular first year for Channel, but also as we resolve to take some very concrete actions toward protecting and empowering the women of the DRC to build peace in their nation. In the same vein of MLK, the time to act and to follow through, is not tomorrow, it is not next month, it is not next year, it is now.