I am frequently asked where the vision for Elevations Co-operative came from, why did the community not think about this before. I will only address the first question as I don’t know the answer to the second.
I have over the 30 years of community work observed that the traditional charity model in developing communities while it works, it has some serious draw backs.
I have observed how Churches and Charitable organization are on constant stress to try to meet their bills.Staff who are most of the time unpaid volunteers feel abused by ungrateful "community members" while community members also have their own bone to grind that they are overwhelmed by donor fatigue they are tired of giving and giving and not being receiving back.
I agree with Margaret Thatcher when she says that "The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.”
It is with these types of limitations that I began to investigate whether or not the co-operative model which is familiar to those who come from the developing countries like Kenya where it is called Sako could be utilized for the purpose of meeting the developmental needs of the East African and beyond communities
here in Toronto Canada.
In February 2014, we had a brainstorming session with several community leaders (Pastors) at a coffee shop on Highway 27 and Finch, where on Tim Horton’s napkins we drew and identified the root cause of the reason as to why we lack progress in comparison to other ethnic communities especially the Asians who seem to be doing just fine in spite of similar economic circumstances to us.
On March 5 2014 Elevations Co-operative Inc was registered with FSCO as Everlasting life Storehouse Co-operative Inc a very long name indeed that would be changed in August of 2014 to our current one.
We are now very well positioned to empower our community while at the same time contributing to charitable causes without feeling abused or receiving back for our good efforts.
The Co-operative model serves us well as it is a two way traffic with both the giver and the recipient of support enjoying shared mutual benefits.
The time has come and is now for all our community groups to join hands together while maintaining their own unique identities to synergize our efforts to move from our limitations to higher potentials.
It is elevations time! Together we can lift any weight.