Makena starts her day at the Ewuaso Market in her home country of Kenya. Metal saucepans reflect the beams of sunlight peeking through the shade trees above as neatly packaged bowls, cups, and cooking utensils line tables at her quiet corner store. She laughs and smiles with friends from the community.
But Makena knows struggle.
Just eight months ago, she was staying at home to care for seven of her 10 children. Barely able to provide enough food for her family, she was in desperate need of a second chance. A second chance — like the one she found in Convoy of Hope’s Micro+ program.
Since completing Micro+, Makena started her own business to provide for her large family. Now, instead of staying home, Makena sells household goods and kitchenware at three weekly markets.
While a lot has changed for Makena and her family, one change stands out the most. “Now there’s plenty of food,” she says with a smile.
Your kindness has helped break the chains of poverty for Makena and her family. Thank you for empowering women like Makena and providing second chances to families around the world.
Hurricane Dorian was the most powerful hurricane to ever strike the Bahamas. It hovered over the Abaco Islands for days; the sheer force of its 200-mph winds crumpled cars, smashed homes, and knocked down trees all over the islands. Floodwaters rose so quickly that they trapped many residents on top of their houses.
Avis was one of the many residents who chose to stay and ride out the storm. “It was horrible,” she remembers. “We had a lot of praying ladies here. We had people who prayed and sang songs. And I guess it worked, because we’re here.”
When the storm finally passed, she emerged to find her community completely destroyed. In many of the affected areas, access to a grocery store, electricity, or even water is still not a reality. In lesser affected areas, some businesses are just now beginning to open up. Many were without access to grocery stores, electricity, or cell service.
“We have about 200 people here, and very little food,” says Avis. “We have to really work hard to get some food from the grocery store that’s destroyed to feed everybody for the next two or three days.”Convoy of Hope arrived in Avis’ community with thousands of pounds of food, water, and other relief supplies a few days after the storm. The supplies that Convoy provided were welcomed with gratitude and tears.
“We’re getting everything,” says Avis. “And I really want to say I appreciate, and I feel the love, especially from my friends all over the world. We’re surviving. We’re survivors.”
To date, Convoy of Hope is working with more than 50 community hubs for distribution. We’ve delivered supplies by airplane and purchased local goods in Nassau. Convoy of Hope partners in Florida are providing vital resources to many Bahamians who evacuated to the United States. They are working with our teams to fulfill needs with product located in our Florida warehouse.
This week we are highlighting the seven countries our Women’s Empowerment Program works in. Each day we will be giving away a small gift from each of the countries with a one-of-a-kind gift being given away on International Women’s Day.
In Tanzania we run a program called Empowered Girls. Empowered Girls has girls’ clubs in seven schools teaching topics like self-esteem, confidence, leadership, conflict resolution and study skills. Lessons are reinforced by fun activities like essay contests, fashion shows and singing.
Girls from four Tanzanian schools wrote and recorded an album called “Watoto wa Afrika,” meaning “Children of Africa,” which was launched during the graduation. The album has songs about the challenges they face as girls, including some real-life situations they encounter. Some songs teach girls about how to resolve problems that come up, while others encourage girls and women to know their rights and to stand up for themselves.
We are offering one of their songs for free download today! Just click the button below to download the song “Enaboishu” — written and performed by girls from the program!
Our Mother’s Clubs in El Salvador teach women job skills training — something they’ve never had before — while also providing self-esteem classes and nutrition and hygiene training.
Mother’s Clubs are helping women, like Maria, who is the mother of Jacqueline, 7, and 1-year-old Marcos. She also watches her nephew, Diego, 2, while her sister works. Maria is learning how to run a poultry farm so she can provide her children with food, a home and a better life.
“My dream is for my children to have a future,” she says with a wide smile. “When they are successful, I will know that I worked hard so they could have a good life.”
Today we are giving away this cool bracelet hand made in El Salvador! Share our Facebook post for a chance to win!
Kenya is the most recent addition to our Women’s Empowerment Program. Our first graduating class passed through the program near the end of 2014 and have now received seed capitol for starting their own businesses!
We are excited to see how these women’s economic opportunities improve as they continue to work on growing small businesses.
We believe providing a women with economic freedom makes them more secure and confident of their intrinsic worth and value to their homes and communities.
Today we are excited to give away these beautiful hand printed Convoy of Hope leather notebooks from Kenya! One is an iPad holder and the other is a notebook holder. Share either of our Facebook posts for a chance to win!