Our grassroots partners teach us...
It is the practice of cultivating joy – even and especially in the midst of struggle – that fuels our partners’ work. They teach us that joy is found…
- In nature, in the currents of the air and the sea
- In dance, in song, in movement
- In the “little moments” between loved ones and strangers
- In coming to the table together to share food and drink
- In the observing, being present
To lift your spirits and reignite your sense of hope and unity, below we share our community’s joy – stories filled with connections between the local and global, between the past and the present, between our supporters and our grassroots partners. Enjoy!
A message from Betsy Rix
Thousand Currents supporter since 1993
I have been a Thousand Currents (formerly IDEX) supporter for at least twenty years, and am continually amazed, inspired, and comforted at the wisdom and effectiveness of this organization.
I had the great honor of serving on the Board for six years, and a piece of my heart will always remain with Thousand Currents. It is important for all of us to continue to support Thousand Currents and its partners’ work because they are truly creating the kind of change we need so badly in these challenging times.
On trips to India, Nepal, and Guatemala, visiting Thousand Currents’ partners was a life-changing experience. I had the joy of meeting people who speak with a strong voice, building their own lives and the communities around them. You could feel the power of grassroots organizing and achieving goals.
Whether it was a well in Rajasthan that freed women from the miles of walking to procure water every day, a women-operated lending program for small businesses in Nepal, or a community-run dental clinic in Guatemala City, the joy and optimism in the face of adversity was encouraging and exciting.
Over the past years, I have followed the organization’s deep inquiry on how best to continue with its mission and enhance our understanding of the world we live in. To me, Thousand Currents’ effective practices demonstrate how we progress toward a more just and sustainable world. The needs are urgent, the solutions are there, and I am grateful for the opportunity to make a difference the best way I can, which is to every year make a donation to Thousand Currents.
A message from Jessie Spector
Thousand Currents Director of Donor Organizing since 2016
I’ll be blunt. I am skeptical of #GivingTuesday.
I want a #GivingTuesday donation to be the start of something, not the whole thing.
I want donations that are more than just a statistic, or a dollar amount, or a click.
I don’t want charitable contributions to surge only on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, and only to the organizations that happen to algorithmically show up on someone’s social media feed.
I want to change #GivingTuesday to #GivingOfYourself Tuesday so that you, the potential donor, are recognized as a whole human being!
On #GivingTuesday and every day, we at Thousand Currents are building community. We are building authentic relationships across difference, culture, continent. We are learning and unlearning who we’re taught to trust and what we think we’re meant to control.
This can start with a click on #GivingTuesday (and we hope it does!), but for us it doesn’t end there.
As an organization that seeks and provides funding, Thousand Currents does more than just write a check to our grassroots partners every year. We try to learn from our partners about the most effective ways to support people fighting the good fight, and manifest those teachings in our own practice and priorities.
This is precisely the rich, broad, engaging philanthropic experience that we desire for our donors – on #GivingTuesday and every day.
Just like our partners around the globe, I work to leverage the unique time, talent, and treasure of Thousand Currents’ supporters like you. I help us bring our whole and unique selves to the table to build a powerful collective voice for social transformation. Together, we can channel the outcry, the rage, the anxiety, and the sheer energy to “do more” into something constructive, sustained, coordinated, and within an accountable community.
Whether you give $5 a month, $500,000 a year, or anywhere in between, your involvement in the Thousand Currents community is just as vital as your dollars.
So give generously and boldly and joyously on this #GivingTuesday, because we know you are #GivingOfYourself.
A message from Red Ñuqanchik Maronijei Noshaninka
Thousand Currents partner in Peru since 2016
From the perspective of our members, we agree that joy can be found in our work…because human affection is like the warmth of our homes.
Our care of the environment in which we live, through our ancestral practices, increases our joy because we feel connected to the earth, plants, and animals. We feel that each of them is an inseparable part of [us]. Our indigenous worldview strengthens our youthful spirit and develops our role as indigenous youth leaders.
Our indigenous celebrations regarding planting, harvesting, the herranza fertility ritual, the Andean New Year, Christmas, etc. are spaces where we can express ourselves and play our music, sing, drink ancestral beverages based on local crops, and taste our food.
We also feel joy when we have meetings because this solidarity work enables us to develop alternative [solutions] to resolve the problems that affect us. This starts with being recognized as political and social actors…Thus we feel that we can contribute to improving life conditions from our perspective as First Nations.
Be in global solidarity with Red Ñuqanchik and other Thousand Currents partners around the world.
A message from Fahad Ahmad
Thousand Currents board chair since 2017
Every day I am inundated with news about people being oppressed and our natural environment being exploited. Where do we find hope in these uncertain and, often, bleak times?
I turn to the wisdom of Indigenous communities reminding me of my roots. I learn from strong women leading social change in grassroots communities. I am inspired by the imagination of youth movements challenging conventional power.
In short, I find this hope in Thousand Currents and its partners. It is why I joined the board, and why I am a donor.
Last year I had the honor of visiting Thousand Currents’ partner Sahyog Sansthan in Udaipur, Rajasthan. I think it is fair to say – I was blown away. They have helped organize communities to regenerate thousands of acres of degraded land in this semi-arid and climate change-vulnerable area. Also, they developed a fund through which communities lend funds to each other for farming initiatives instead of relying on money lenders. Ultimately, the model was recognized by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development in India.
This past year was one of healthy change for our organization. We proudly, excitedly, and fully took on a new name – Thousand Currents. Our values and commitment to social justice and building resilient communities remain as steadfast as ever.
For a small organization, we have large ambitions that are buoyed by the fierce and unrelenting commitment of our partners. Every day at Thousand Currents, we bask in the joy of the knowledge that we are serving organizations and movements that are taking on the even bigger forces of oppressive governments and greedy corporations.
This work is especially needed in our world right now. I invite you to join me in supporting it.
Investing in Thousand Currents and its partners means, together, we can help create a more resilient, healthy, and just global community.
A message from Srijana Poudel of Nari Chetana Kendra / Women Awareness Center Nepal (WACN)
Thousand Currents partner in Nepal since 2005
Srijana Poudel and the women of Nari Chetana Kendra (WACN) demonstrate to us that building the collective power of women is transformative – not just in an individual or relational sense, but in a sustained way that creates and builds towards a shared vision for broad, systemic change.
That discipline, their commitment to gender equality and a culture of collectivity, has made it possible for WACN have one of the largest bases of organized farmers in Nepal, with 42 cooperatives having combined assets of over 457 million Nepali rupees (US$ 4.2 million)!
WACN’s work to transform the economic landscape of Nepal is only part of their vision. WACN members have stopped traffic to protest violence against women and police misconduct, supported members in running for political offices, weighed into constitutional negotiations, and held advocated for budget and policy changes in the wake of the 2015 earthquake and beyond.
To see women take their rightful place next to men in Nepali society – that too is what Srijana and the women of WACN are working for.
Be in global solidarity with Nari Chetana Kendra (WACN) and other Thousand Currents partners around the world.
A message from Rajasvini Bhansali
Thousand Currents Executive Director since 2010
I was reading The Wisdom of No Escape last week by Pema Chödrön, a Buddhist nun and teacher, and I was reflecting on the idea that humans are not entitled to be happy at all times. Even if we tried, how could we be, given our global challenges?
Rather, I was reminded that our role as humans is to cultivate the conditions for joy. This means doing the work of grieving, working through differences, letting go of resentments, becoming more authentic, more interconnected, and more interdependent with each other.
Every day at Thousand Currents, I see our partners, staff, board, Young Professionals Group, and our broader community working to do just that; they create the conditions that allow for greater hope, unity, resilience, and a lifetime of commitment in this work.
I also value when anger, fear, conflict, and disappointment arrive as well – these experiences are our teachers and an opportunity for us to grow as individuals and as a community.
In fact, our partners teach us that joy is necessary to sustain our work. They show us where joy is in building movements, in struggle, in weaving community if we embrace each moment.
Joy is not an outcome, but is, in itself, a practice we can cultivate indeed.
A message from Federación Nacional de Mujeres Campesinas, Artesanas, Indígenas, Nativas y Asaliaradas de Perú / National Federation of Indigenous, Peasant, Artisan, Native and Wage-Earning Women of Peru (FENMUCARINAP)
Thousand Currents partner in Peru since 2016
The early development of this women’s organization was, for the 8 founding leaders, an act of hope, a moment of happiness. We had just met each other, coming from different organizations—from the coast, the mountains, and the jungle. But we agreed that it was important to have a women-only organization so that our [specific] demands be considered.
In [our] regional assemblies or meetings, members share their contributions, their experiences, and opinions. They feel joy in…seeing that there are others in the same situation. [We] reinforce one another, and so the organization has been growing. This leads to the affirmation of our dreams of justice and progress.
When events are held…we all take turns to clean, cook, prepare the mística ritual, and thus be of service to others. There is a spirit of sisterhood; there is joy. Later, we advocate and march before the government in the city’s main streets, sharing the demands developed [together]. There, each member feels that the march is for their proposals and that the government must respond to them. There is a fighting spirit, there is joy.
After a day of struggle, we sisters celebrate by expressing our emotions, by laughing, crying, and dancing. They feel that this is our own space, where we can speak without fear, that we are not alone, and we find the strength to make ourselves be respected in our communities and families. There is joy.
Be in global solidarity with FENMUCARINAP and other Thousand Currents partners around the world.
A message from Jennifer Lentfer
Thousand Currents Director of Communications since 2015
There is a subtle, small thing that I find at Thousand Currents that is worthy of highlighting as we share our joy and celebrate our commitment to cultivating it.
It comes in the moments that sometimes I least expect. Other times I long for it.
It is one of the most fundamental of human needs, sometimes the hardest to fulfill and the easiest to dismiss or forget.
It is to be seen.
To have my fundamental wholeness validated, to have my hidden self acknowledged, is for me pure joy.
It is joy because, unfortunately, we are surrounded by systems that wish to do away with our humanity; empire and white supremacy, resource extraction and dirty energy, patriarchy and militarism all erase, exploit, silence, invisibilize, isolate, and control us.
So just a small moment of “I see you” from a loved one, a community member, a colleague, a stranger even – it matters. As we are witnessing entrenched power threaten people we love and our Mother Earth unrelentingly, many of us are also at the same time witnessing a shift in our consciousness – our own as individuals and as a people.
That is something to be celebrated.
Every time we can be fully present to each other, “I see you” reflects that change. It affirms that we belong. It offers an invitation to healing. It reminds us we are worthy. Most important, it can bind us in the collective action that will continue to bring about these changes on deeper and deeper levels. For Thousand Currents, “I see you” is at the heart of our approach to partnership and is the core of our partners’ work.
I’m not a part of Thousand Currents to “fight poverty” in a nebulous, idealistic sense. I’m here to gather and work with people around the world who are dismantling the structures that perpetuate inequality, discrimination, and injustice.
I suspect that’s why you’re a part of the Thousand Currents community too.
I see you.
A message from two Thousand Currents partners in southern Africa
Isaac Mpofu, a member of Zimbabwe Smallholder Organic Farmers’ Forum (ZIMSOFF), explained why agroecology is so vital to a good life at our global learning exchange earlier this year:
“It’s very natural. You can see, you can dream of nature… you can take part.”
Mpofu (pictured in the green shirt above) is one of 19,000 members of the ZIMSOFF, all of whom are taking part in envisioning a livable future, together. Farmers like Mpofu know that the sacred enters and exits the world through our soil. This shared source of all living things, this great nurturer and connector of what is seen and unseen, holds humanity’s greatest potential.
Artistry is also found in uncovering the beauty and goodness that the earth provides. At the learning exchange we also caught up with Abonga Tom, a youth leader volunteering with Surplus People Project (SPP) in South Africa on food sovereignty, land reform, and agrarian transformation. He shared how he approaches this in his own life in this clip:
Working with the soil every day, noticing and observing living things with such intimacy, is rich with potential and joy!
Be brave. Be inspired. Be in global solidarity with ZIMSOFF, SPP, and Thousand Currents partners around the world.
A message from David Roswell
Thousand Currents supporter since 2017
I used to try to keep “me” out of my giving. It’s not about me, right?
I thought I should give to organizations and folks doing work that I believed in, and then step away. Giving wasn’t for my ego, my growth, my needs.
This approach helped my partner, Maggie, and me to give flexibly and generously, yet we gave with trepidation. We didn’t want special attention, didn’t want oversight of how they were using the funds, and didn’t want to take precious time away from “the work.”
These assumptions about myself and my relationships have been called into question as I’ve gotten to know Thousand Currents. At the Thousand Currents Academy earlier this year, I began to ask: what if these meetings were for folks to share their work with us, so that we can be better supporters and fellow comrades?
Maggie and I now seek out conversations with the organizations we give to. We check in with them. We now are proud of our giving, and gush openly about the amazing work we are helping to support.
I had another misconception when it came to my giving: I was afraid I didn’t understand international contexts well enough to fund outside the US. Through deep conversation and teaching led by Thousand Currents partners, I reexamined this. I learned that I never fully know the contexts that I’m funding in – whether in Detroit, Michigan or Harare, Zimbabwe – and that I don’t need to in order to be a good partner to organizers and change-makers.
Injustice anywhere shares root causes. I saw that through relationship with groups working for self-determination and survival in the Global South, I can learn strategies and tactics that can be useful for winning in the U.S. as well.
These learnings, among many others, are the reasons I am a joyful and proud supporter of Thousand Currents. I see no other grassroots funder making deeper, more genuine relationships with the organizations they fund, the donors with which they work, and the broader communities of philanthropy and social change than Thousand Currents. I trust no organization more to support women, indigenous folks, and other communities across the globe with more conviction, compassion, and trust than Thousand Currents.
Thousand Currents has brought hope, humor, and long hugs to my philanthropic practice. I hope you’ll join me in sharing this joy and supporting their continued work into the future.
It’s not about me. It’s about us.
A message from Asociación de Mujeres Ixpiyakok / Ixpiyakok Women’s Association (ADEMI)
Thousand Currents partner in Guatemala since 2016
Joy originates from inner peace, which fulfills our being and leads to self-contentment. When we obtain positive or satisfactory results, or when we succeed at something, we are filled with joy.
We celebrate with those closest to us and find the courage to keep fighting for that which brought us joy. We even choose to embark on new struggles in our life and become motivated to carry on despite new challenges, without letting them stop us.
Receiving an award for our work [the United Nations Equator Prize] gave us satisfaction, joy, delight, much laughter. It urged us to organize many more women based on this recognition and response to our collective work.
To find joy in [our] work is to see the transformation of the people with whom we fight, to know that they have succeeded in defending and developing themselves. It brings us happiness and much peace to know that they have learned to fly with their own wings, provoking tears of joy.
There are a thousand ways to support our work.
One of them is donating.