27 Jan Clark and Cathy Blakeman Join Lahash Staff
Clark and Cathy Blakeman have joined Lahash International as staff members. “Clark and Cathy have been involved with Lahash since before we were an official organization,” said Dan Holcomb, Lahash’s Director. “We are thrilled to have them join our team this year! Cathy personally adds deep compassion toward the high-school kids that we serve and an attentiveness to detail and organization, and Clark adds a thoughtful and experienced background in discipleship and Christian community development skills.”
Clark, who brings a great deal of experience in community development and implementation from his organization Second Stories, will take on the role of Partnership Development Director. He will work closely with Edwin Angote and Leisha Otieno, Lahash staff members in East Africa, as well as directly with Lahash partner organizations. “I will be working to develop the Lahash East Africa partners and empowering them with new tools and strategies for the health, spiritual strength, and sustainability of their organization,” Clark says.
Cathy will join as Director of Higher Education. She will be developing a mentorship/scholarship program to benefit Lahash sponsored children as they graduate high school, which will give them the opportunity to attend university or trade school. “We believe that as the younger children see what the older kids are able to do, they may themselves be motivated to do better in their schooling,” Cathy says of the program she’s developing.
Clark and Cathy will also provide training to Lahash partners and their local communities in mentorship and discipleship of the kids in high school and those entering university. In Portland they’ll be restarting Lahash’s Servant Team program and creating new pathways for deeper discipleship for our staff and volunteers,” Dan says.
While being a part of the Lahash Servant Team who spent the better part of last year in Uganda, Clark and Cathy were deeply involved with several projects at Amazing Grace Children’s Home, including the construction of a community well, a “Poultry Project” which promised to improve nutrition for the children and operating costs for the home, and – perhaps most importantly – spending time fostering and building relationships with the children. “While traveling I got first hand knowledge of how difficult life is for vulnerable children. I felt compelled to be a friend who could learn from kids and organizations addressing those challenges.”
Engaging and encouraging a different culture to believe they can effectively create change can be challenging. Clark says, “In Uganda (and perhaps across East Africa), people have not been given social permission to dream, to create, to think differently. So even when it seems like they understand, the implementation is slow. And we as Westerners need to resist the urge to make something happen yourself instead of being patient while our Partners brainstorm their own strategies to implement.”
Flexibility is also a big part of the job. When on the ground in East Africa, every day presents a new set of challenges, from the basic (running water) to the complex (cultural differences). But Clark and Cathy have a track record of dealing with whatever is thrown their way. Says Mama Susan Tabia, Director of Amazing Grace Children’s Home in Uganda, “Both Clark and Cathy have shown that they can and will help with any other work in the field since they are always willing to assist where necessary!”
To connect with the Blakemans, email them at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
To support their work with Lahash, you can click here to give online. Then select “Clark & Cathy Blakeman” from the Lahash Staff list.