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Oasis is committed to working in an inclusive, integrated, empowering and comprehensive way so that all people experience wholeness and fullness of life. Their vision is for community – a place where everyone is included, making a contribution and reaching their God-given potential.
In the United States, Oasis started with after-school programs, computer training, and has now shifted focus to building awareness about human trafficking, and working with its victims.
Today’s guest is Kevin Potter, the Spiritual Director of Oasis US. Kevin and his family have been involved in urban integrated community development for the last 20 years. For several years he and his family lived in India, where they helped develop an AIDS care community for women and children from the slums and red light areas of Mumbai.
In the UK he was the founding director of The Mustard Tree Foundation, a Christian organization helping resource the integrated needs of the urban poor. Currently he and his family are living in Pasadena, CA.
Oasis works in 11 countries, and 40 communities. Kevin talks about the work of Oasis – from empowerment of communities, to building sustainable business models, to education programs – all the way to trafficking.
IN THE CONVERSATION, YOU WILL LEARN:
~ Background Story: Kevin started out as a civil engineer. His experiences in India allowed him to get more involved with the community development side. Today, he is Oasis’ Spiritual Director in the US.
~ Ending Trafficking – ONE community at a time “Prevention, support and reintegration” is Oasis’ model to empower individuals and communities affected by human trafficking.
~ Networking is Important: Kevin talks about various ways that Oasis connects with individuals and communities who want to be activists, and support the cause.
~ US Demographics: The average age of a boy being trafficked is as young as 11 years old! Kevin talks about the realities of human trafficking in America.
~ Defining Trafficking: Kevin Potter mentions that trafficking is not limited to women and children. It includes males. It includes labour trafficking and sexual trafficking. It includes all the people living on streets, who are controlled by gangs.
~Operations at Oasis: On an average, each group at Oasis may have fifteen to thirty volunteers working with each community. More people get involved at the events organized by the groups, which may increase the number of volunteers to 60!
~ Not So Linear: What are the challenges? To complete their work with communities, with victims, for survivor re-integration and empowerment, long term commitment – ideally 2 years – is the most challenging part of the project.
~ It’s Happening in YOUR Community: Human trafficking is no longer to be isolated from our world – it’s happening in our backyards. It’s happening in our own cities.
~ Adding Sustainability: Tap into the business environment and skills that the community is a part of. Add value, and put something back into the community that will help them to serve themselves.
Businesses want to use their skills to help non-profits. Kevin says, “Partnership is key.”
~ Future Plans: Kevin and his family are going back to the UK to work on another project of Oasis. He wants to ensure that Oasis has a strong financial base for this transition.
Kevin Potter knows that his work has added richness to his life. He talks about the ripple effect that is produced – an individual’s life is changed, and that change passes on to children, and then to the community.
He relates a story of children from Mumbai who were diagnosed HIV+ in the 90s, who are still in touch with Kevin via Facebook, and doing extraordinary things with their lives.
Giving Warriors means…
Kevin Potter shares a story about his own hero, John Laing, a Warrior who named Christ as his partner in his business. Kevin received a grant from John and Mary Laing to go to India, and the rest, he says, is history.
Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Gregory Boyle
CONNECT WITH KEVIN:
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