The Local Expert

About the Local Expert

Loom believes that people serving the marginalized in their own nations, communities and cultures are the experts—the Local Experts. They are change agents who live and work in the midst of poverty, human trafficking, HIV/AIDS and who speak the language, know the history and understand the complexities of their own culture infinitely better than any of us ever could.

We intentionally come alongside them and learn how to maximize change through interdependent partnerships. Celebrating their ingenuity and commitment to local solutions, we in turn discover what they need to be successful in the longterm to empower the vulnerable.

The Local Expert

Local Experts

Meet a Few of Our Partners

John Mukolwe

Pastor John Mukolwe was raised by his widowed grandmother in a remote village in Kenya and experienced the realities of a vulnerable child-hood. Years later, together with his wife, Jacinta—also an orphan—he committed his life to serving at-risk children and women in Tanzania and Kenya.

They have since begun a sponsorship program that enables 70 + vulnerable children to attend school and they a fight to keep young girls from becoming child brides as early as eight years old. They run sports programs for the youth, serve the widowed and single mothers in their community and ensure that children have the basic right of having food in their stomachs.

Loom partners with Pastor Mukolwe through ongoing relationship, training and equipping—he attended our Celebrating Children Workshop this summer and we will be visiting his location in the new year to facilitate more training.

Picture of Anu

Anupama Dongardive works in Pune, India. Abandoned as a baby, she was raised among 700 other orphans. She speaks of knowing early on that one day she would mother many other girls just like her. Fast forward decades, she and her husband, Silas started “Vanitashray,” a refuge for widows and orphaned girls.

Tragically, her husband passed away, leaving her a widow with two young girls but she continued their vision alone. Today, Anu’s organization impacts Pune through fostering and adoption programs, supporting 85 single mothers and their children, sponsoring 40 widows and running three schools that provide education for children with no other option.

Anupama attended the Celebrating Children Workshop and says that her relationship with Loom has provided her the knowledge that “Someone is celebrating, that some is there with us, to cheer us on.”

Picture of Manuel

Manuel Bonga lives and works in Beira, Mozambique. Seeing HIV/AIDS impact his own family, he has committed his life to reaching out to those impacted by the disease in his community, combatting the cultural stigma associated with it. Further, seeing large numbers of children orphaned in his surroundings, he started a project that places children impacted by the disease in homes. Five couples are now foster-parenting ten children. He hopes this project multiplies in his church, his city, throughout Mozambique and ultimately all of southern Africa.

Manuel attended the Celebrating Children Workshop in Portland and the ReNew program in Uganda—a retreat for HIV/AIDS practitioners—and Loom continues its partnership with him to see the multiplication of his vision across his region.

Where We Work

At Loom we work with a regional strategy in mind. This allows us to offer our training and consultation tools strategically, reaching the most projects who are serving the most vulnerable. By doing so we can use our finances, time and skills to most effectively make the greatest impact. Browse the regions below to discover how we have partnered with projects around the world.

East Africa

Map of East Africa

Through both our Celebrating Children Workshop and ReNew retreats we have partnered with projects across in East African nations such as Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, equipping Local Experts who are educating vulnerable children, caring for HIV/AIDS affected individuals and investing in job creation.

At our 2016 ReNew retreat in Uganda, one participant who leads a team serving 40 men and women affected by HIV/AIDS told us: "Thank you for thinking of us while we were busy in the field. Thank you for your time and energy, this has refreshed me."

Caregivers from Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania all participated in our Celebrating Children Workshop in 2015. Together, their projects serve thousands of children in the region; providing them with education, placing them in loving families, giving them access to medical care and feeding the hungry. We are excited to continue investing in these and other caregivers in the East African region, and see more Local Experts trained and empowered to serve their communities.

Southern Africa

Map of Southern Africa

In 2012 we partnered with the Methodist church in South Africa to provide training to key staff in that region who lead projects serving children. We trained 35 Local Experts, and gave them the tools to train others. In the years following that workshop, they have trained over 1,200 other caregivers who serve children. Altogether, over 20,000 children have been impacted through that workshop.

The story doesn't end there, however, as we continue investing in Local Experts working in the Southern African region. Three Local Experts from Mozambique participated in the CCW in 2015, and have testified to how this training continues to impact their schools, HIV/AIDS support groups and childcare programs.

Manuel, from Mozambique, told us that months after the training, he continues to multiply what he learned. He explained: "Putting into application what I learned at the CCW has been a blessing to the team I work with," and outlined his plans for trainings to pass it on to his staff. We are excitedly making plans to return to Southern Africa and continue training more Local Experts.

Southeast Asia

Map of South Asia

India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Cambodia. These are nations that are faced with the challenges of poverty, human trafficking and lack of education. However, through Loom's partnerships in the region we have been able to equip caregivers who are profoundly impacting communities in the nations.

We ran the Celebrating Children Workshop in the region in 2013, where one of the participants runs a school for children who live on a garbage dump. These are children who would never have been given an education, never have been given hope, and now have a future to look forward to. The project continues, and their numbers have increased steadily. In 2015, they told us: "This year we did not have any dropouts. We started the school with 23 students and we are finished the school with 23 students."

Additionally, caregivers from India and Cambodia participated in our Celebrating Children Workshop in 2015. One, from Cambodia, told us: "“I will take this hygiene training into our preschools [and] teach villagers on healthcare and hygiene.” We're passionate to see this training multiplied through South Asia, so we will continue to invest in this region, bringing training to caregivers who are creating futures of hope.

Eastern Europe

Map of Eastern Europe

As a significant source of human trafficking, and the location of the poorest nations in Europe, Eastern Europe has great need for passionate, empowered people who will care for the vulnerable, poor and needy. In 2014 and 2015 we ran our Celebrating Children Workshop in Romania, empowering caregivers from nations throughout Eastern Europe who serve hundreds of children.

Those in our training walked away with tools and resources to allow them to serve vulnerable children around them. One Romanian participant, working in a local orphanage, told us that because of this training: "I will understand them [children] better and I will know how to act for the best interest of the child."

The training hasn't stopped there. Because we equipped participants with the tools to train others, in September of 2015, they facilitated their own Celebrating Children Workshop, passing on what they had learned, and empowering others to bring change. We train Local Experts, they train others, and the impact grows!