“We wanted to find the poorest people in the world and make a difference in their lives,” says Alan Liu [MDiv 2006], Canadian Operations Director at Raising the Village. Alan and his friend Shawn Cheung founded the organization in 2007.
Raising the Village is about “engaging communities and helping them develop sustainable solutions for alleviating poverty.” They are presently in 11 villages, and donation and grant revenue has grown by over 300 per cent since 2007. They have a vision to be active in 10 new villages a year.
Their organizational ethos is grounded in what Alan learned at Tyndale. “I originally chose Tyndale because I wanted additional theological training and to develop a missional mindset for ministry,” he says.
Tyndale prepared Alan to think critically about engaging the world. In his History of Christianity class, the professor talked about historical facts, and what unique issues were important today. “Tyndale is not just a place to learn what we need to tell our congregation, but to learn how to think so that we can address issues in the world,” says Alan.
God has inspired Raising the Village to approach international development using a community-driven, holistic and sustainable development model. When Raising the Village goes into a community, they want to make sure the ownership and execution of the idea come from within the village itself.
“What matters for the organization is that we have adopted the best practices of international development. What matters to Sean and me personally is that we are Christians.”
For Alan, being a Christian doesn’t necessarily mean you have to define your organization as religious. “Even though hospitals were founded by Christians, they are now part of the fabric of our society. This is what we are trying to do with Raising the Village. We want to see the best international development practices become part of society.”