Being faithful and trusting in a cause that’s bigger than yourself is difficult. Working towards bigger goals can also be difficult when the day-to-day challenges seem insurmountable. Celebrating each step along the way towards changing the world and being dedicated to the path that God has called us to walk is how we fight off weariness! Every victory and every step forward is progress, no matter how small, towards the larger goal of permanent community transformation all over the world.
Many times, the big picture can be overwhelming. There are many worthy causes and so many people in need of help. You think, ‘I can’t possibly help everyone- I’m just one person.’ In times like these, remembering the moral of “The Starfish Story” by Loren Eisley might change your mind.
So in this week’s blog, let’s take a look at some of HopeChest’s recent starfish!
Gender inequality is a huge problem in education around the world. According to UNESCO, an average of 130 million girls around the world between the ages of 6 and 17 aren’t in school, and 15 million girls of elementary-school age will never enter a classroom at all. This is a huge disadvantage for both individuals and communities. Better educated women marry later and have healthier children. They also know more about health and nutrition, and are more likely to participate in the workforce and earn more income. This is beneficial not only for a woman and her family, but for the economy of the area as well.
Maria* is 13 and lives in Bárcena, Villa Nueva, Guatemala, with her parents and her brother. They were all out on the street one day, selling food to earn their income. Staff from the Nuevo Reto CarePoint approached the family, asking if they could assess their home to see if they could help out. The family agreed, and during the assessment, CarePoint staff learned that neither child was in school. When they offered to support Maria’s education, Maria’s parents refused, saying she was a girl and didn’t need an education, since she should be at home. They wanted her brother to attend instead. The CarePoint staff could have given up there, but that’s not what they did! They advocated for Maria, insisting that it was worth the time to educate her and refusing to support her brother unless she was allowed to attend as well. Maria’s parents thought it over and agreed to allow both children to go! Maria and her brother now attend the CarePoint 5 days a week, doing virtual classes and attending tutorial sessions. Maria is very intelligent and loves to study, and she has earned very high grades for her first semester. To Maria, the CarePoint’s influence meant the world!
*Child’s name has been altered in accordance with Children’s HopeChest’s Child Protection Policy and standards.
CarePoints focus their efforts beyond the individual or even the family. Projects that benefit the community as a whole often benefit many children and families even if they don’t attend the CarePoint. The Shashemene Betale CarePoint in Ethiopia has one such project- a water line that allows clean water access to the community. However, recently, because of a government-owned generator issue, it was unable to be used. The CarePoint staff worked long and hard with the government to fix the issue. They were given permission to take water from another source, and had to extend the existing pipe. But in the end, they succeeded in bringing water back to the community! It was a tiring ordeal, but the staff were committed to their goal. Because of the CarePoint’s place in the community, the entire Shashemene Betale community has access to the most essential resource of all.
40 young boys from the Shashemene Gofa Sefer CarePoint were able to participate in building a children’s parliament! This training helps them better understand how the government works and its importance. The children were taught about the reasons for a children’s parliament and how it can help shape tomorrow’s leaders. The training helped to familiarize children with their rights and responsibilities, increase their participation in community social affairs, and inspire them to become leaders. This kind of training helps children connect with the community around them and see the bigger picture of their world.
Mary is a 20 year old woman with 6 brothers and sisters in the Adacar CarePoint’s community in Uganda. Mary got the opportunity to take tailoring classes at the Adacar CarePoint just after her primary 6. Even though she is a senior in school and graduating soon, Mary still works hard to earn money to help her family! She was gifted a sewing machine by her older brother, and works every week in the market selling skirts, shirts, and dresses that she’s made. Because of her hard work and dedication, Mary has been able to support herself, help support her siblings, and has bought four hens of her own.
Mary’s CarePoint has also recently been able to purchase four new sewing machines for their tailoring students to practice with! The CarePoint also renovated one room to be used for the tailoring project in response to the increased enrollment. This was also an opportunity for the trainees to learn how to assemble new machines. This will enable the students to have a practical space to hone their skills. They are currently preparing for their end of term exams!
Whenever we think about making a difference for others, sometimes it may feel like if a contribution isn’t large, that it isn’t significant- but as you can see, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The transformation of one life leads to the change of a community. The ripple effect through a whole community on the other side of the world can be felt from just one drop! And Children’s HopeChest is proud to be serving communities as they take those smaller steps forward in their day to day lives to see their goals to fruition.