I learned this morning that Millard Fuller died. He's the man who founded Habitat for Humanity and you can learn more about him here.
I admire the Habitat model that includes the beneficiaries in the process. They help build the house and they also contribute financially. But they pay no interest. Habitat, Heifer, and microlending I think all have in common this sense that the poor don't need to be pitied or exploited, and that help doesn't mean I'll take care of everything for you. Instead there are ways to work towards solutions together. I think that's the way to go.