Josefina’s Story

Josefina dons her blue apron — embroidered with “Convoy of Hope” on the front — and starts the tour of her tienda. The mild Nicaraguan winters mean she can leave her front door open for potential customers.

“I started off selling ice, but now I’ve invested in other things to sell,” she explains. “I have chickens I can sell for meat and eggs. I also sell popsicles and other goods. My goal is to expand this and own my own grocery store.”

Josefina looks taken aback as she speaks, almost as if she can’t believe what she’s saying. That’s because she was in a very different situation only one year ago. Unable to buy groceries without going into debt, she enrolled in Convoy of Hope’s Women’s Empowerment initiative as soon as she knew it was a possibility.

“I participated, and I didn’t miss any of the sessions,” she says with a laugh.

After she graduated, she opened her shop and saved money. It couldn’t have come at a better time. Several medical emergencies took place in her family that she was able to pay for without going into debt — something she never would have been able to do before opening her business.

As Josefina walks around her store, she points proudly to a piece of paper hanging on the wall. It’s the diploma she received when she graduated from the Women’s Empowerment program. With tears in her eyes, she says, “I want my children to be in school and study, so they don’t have to struggle the way I have.”

Thanks to Convoy of Hope’s Women’s Empowerment program, women around the world like Josefina are ending the cycles of poverty in their families and communities, while also cultivating hope for future generations.

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Women's Empowerment

Hope Is a Necessity

We often think of hope in a general sense. We hope our team wins the game. We hope we get to meet our favorite musicians one day. We hope we get what’s on our Christmas lists. But now, scientists are discovering that hope may be more vital and quantifiable than we thought.

Multiple studies have shown that hope is both a necessity for mental health and an important defense mechanism against mental ailments and daily stress. That means that hope isn’t just a feeling; in many ways, it acts as our mental immune system. Matthew Gallagher, a clinical psychology expert at the University of Houston, summarized, “It’s a resource that even people who are facing all kinds of obstacles are able to maintain and are able to rely on to cope with different kinds of stressors.”

Experts also believe that we may need to rethink our vocabulary. Oftentimes, we use the word “hope” passively. “Just hope for the best,” we say, when what we really mean is wish for the best. Wishing is a passive desire for something to happen to us. Hoping is based in purpose. Hope is active and empowering. Hope leads to a better tomorrow.

“Hope is not a wish. Hope is about taking action to achieve goals,” Chan Hellman, Founding Director of Hope Research Center claims. “… It’s identifying how to get there from here and how to motivate people to do that work. That’s the essence of hope.”

And, if you have hope, give hope. Convoy of Hope was founded on the idea that everyone can do something to help. We are not in the business of fabricating feelings; we aim to change lives. We believe that, with the help of people like you, we can give others ample cause to hope — not just to wish for a better future, but to truly have hope that tomorrow will be better than yesterday.

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