As Women’s History Month is coming to a close, we’re celebrating the amazing women around the world in the countries we work in! These women are changing their own history, one day at a time, by working hard to break the cycle of poverty in their families and communities. Generational change takes time, but with HopeChest’s support, the women in these communities are changing their stories for the generations to come.
Hirphe is the 45-year-old mother of three children, one of whom attends the Holeta CarePoint in Ethiopia. Hirphe us one of the few farmers that lives around the Holeta area, and only owned a small bit of land and one cow. Hirphe worked the farm every day, but it was still not yielding enough to provide enough food for her family, let alone anything extra to sell. Hirphe was able to get a Self-Help Group loan for starting a small business through the CarePoint, as her child’s guardian. She bought her own sheep and began breeding them for her farm. Then- disaster struck. Hirphe’s cow died. She was very sad- her cow had been with her a long time and had worked hard alongside her to tend to Hirphe’s farm. However, she never slowed down working on her sheep rearing business. “She never gave up thinking of another way to make income for her family,” CarePoint staff said. Hirphe never backed down from a challenge, not when her children needed her! Hirphe shifted her focus and sold her sheep in order to buy a milk cow from the Holeta Agricultural Research Center, and her milk business is flourishing! The milk production from her new cow is enough to feed her children and sell on the side. “I thank the Lord for the blessings I received…and I want to say thank you to the sponsors who helped provide the money for the SHG!” Hirphe said.
Aberash is described as “one of the legacies of Children’s HopeChest’s success at Chapa CarePoint”! Before her eldest son joined the Chapa CarePoint three years ago, Aberash’s family was living in poverty, struggling to find their next meal. The Chapa CarePoint has many training programs for working women and opportunities for guardians to get involved in income generating activities. Aberash jumped at the opportunity, and immediately went to work! She bought two sheep, and faithfully cared for them. Within a year, they’d produced two sets of twins! She was able to sell all six sheep and purchase a cow. Since then, her cow has had two babies. Aberash was one of the most successful guardians who brought prestige and authority to the CarePoint’s income generating activity program. Because of that newfound authority, the program was able to expand into more agriculture over the past two years. The program has been able to grow potatoes, corn, beans, tomatoes, and carrots. Abernash participated in making this aspect of the program a success, too! She now also specializes in sowing maize, and has purchased even more cows. All of her hard work and the strength that God has given her allowed her to care for her family and put her children through school. All she needed was the opportunity. CarePoint staff also says that with her newfound knowledge, Abernash has gone above and beyond to help uplift other guardians who were in her situation.
Beyenu is described as one of the strongest women in the Ethiopian town of Kombolcha, who manages her family all by herself. When her son was very small, Beyenu’s husband passed away. Now she was mourning, but still responsible for her child and her home. There were so many responsibilities, and it was also overwhelming to learn how to care for a new baby without her husband by her side. When her son was old enough to attend school, she wanted him to go, but she could not afford the fees to send him. That was when he was able to enroll at the HopeChest CarePoint, which provided him with his school materials, uniform, and nutritional support. As soon as the CarePoint began its own Self-Help Group for savings and loans, Beyenu joined right away! She was able to start her own business selling injera, a type of flatbread. She worked very hard to make sure that her son would not go without anything. She baked all day, and would then walk around to all the local shops to distribute her wares. Her son could see the hard work his mother did, and he was inspired to work hard in school to show his gratitude. He’s just finished eleventh grade.
When Covid-19 reached Uganda, rural communities suffered greatly. Their economies were severely impacted by the effects of safety lockdowns and quarantines. Rural areas also are less likely to have access to doctors and medical care, which made Covid-19 even more of a serious concern. Many parents and guardians’ financial situations deteriorated and created desperation. Mary and her husband were some of these parents. They have seven children and live in the Omor Village. Mary and her husband joined one of the Okocho CarePoint’s Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) groups. They decided to invest their money in building a commercial home building on the land they owned right in the center of town. Mary said that they never had considered building such a place possible- that only educated people could accomplish things like that.
“My husband and I didn’t finish school… but from the knowledge and savings we got from Children’s HopeChest, it dawned on us that it’s really possible,” Mary said. “Every person who built a house in the community was either working with the government or an organization. We decided to defy the odds!”
These women have gone above and beyond to change their lives and the lives of their children with the provisions of God through HopeChest. Like James 1:2-3 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” These women truly have personified this verse with their hard work, their values, and their steadfastness. The history of their families and communities will be forever transformed from their perseverance in the face of challenge. Happy Women’s History Month!