Independence Day!

Today many of our friends and family in The US are celebrating a day that marks freedom and liberty.  While they are celebrating, I got to taste some really sweet women sharing about new found freedoms in their lives. These women have been bound up for a long time by some of the internal effects on the soul of poverty.   But, today they were sharing some amazing stories of the difference the last 3 months has made in their lives.

I am sitting here stunned, humbled and honored to be a part of what God is doing in the lives of these women and their children as I review their comments and feedback.  These are courageous women who have persevered through many hardships while staying soft and pliable.  Of course some of our moms are still struggling to break free of some ingrained habits, but I have to share some of these comments with you…what you are partnering with is making a difference for moms.  So, please enjoy and keep spreading the word.  Here are excerpts from some of the moms.  You gotta read these…

(By the way…you will see all money mentioned in ETB or Birr.  The exchange rate is currently 16.8 ETB to 1 USD)

–       It is nice to be working.  I used to be controlled by my son’s care, but now I am free to work.  God answered my prayers. (A mom who now is free to make 25 ETB per day doing construction work, but 3 months ago had no income).
–       I am very happy.  I used to sell kolo which did not provide enough.  Now I am actually able to save a few Birr per month.  ( A mom who is now working construction work for 25 ETB per day and is setting aside some savings every month)
–       Before EHE my children were not eating.  Now my children are eating Breakfast, lunch and dinner. (A mom who washes clothes for a living making 110 ETB per month).
–       I had no income and no capacity to support my son when he was continually sick..  EHE has given life to my son.   (A mom whose son was within 24 hours of death because of malnutrition).
–       I am very happy because my income is increasing because I am free to work.  My child now has breakfast and dinner provided, AND I am now able to provide a small dinner for my family.   (A mom who now is making 300 ETB selling bananas)
–       I am very happy because I stopped begging.  Begging was a bad, cultural habit for me.  I started working and now am very happy. (A mom who is now able to make 600 ETB per month doing construction labor, but 1 month ago was still begging).
–       No one every paid attention to my son because of his handicap.  They never supported him nor greeted him, even when they paid attention to his sister.  I am very happy because my son is welcomed and accepted.  Thank you.  (A mom who has a 5 yr old son with Cerebral Palsy and a little 3 yr old girl in the project.  She now is making 400 – 450 ETB per month because she is free to work.)
–       Now that I am able to work, shame has been broken off of my life.  I used to beg, which brought shame.  Now I can be with friends at work and not feel shame. (A mom whom we met on the road on her way to beg.  Now, she sees the shame that she was living in and is experiencing freedom).
–       Begging was like a cancer for me.  I now have been separated from it.  After registering in the project I continued to beg, but now I have changed my behavior and am working.  I have friends because the shame is broken. (Another mom whom we met on the road on her way to beg.  Now she is free of shame AND is making 20 ETB per day).
–       Before there was no freedom because I always was helping my daughter.  Now I have freedom AND my daughter is changing.  Her facial expression is even changing.  Before there was no food for her to eat.  Now she is eating and I also am happy to have a place to come to for lunch. (A mom who is now free to make and sell injera full time, making 20 ETB per day.  She also joins us daily for lunch at the project so that she can breastfeed her baby and get a nutritious lunch herself.)
–       The project is changing life for me and my son.  I can see the physical change.  He is healthy, has food and our family is feeling supported.  It is changing my life.  (A mom who is now able to work as a housekeeper and who is making some supplemental income helping EHE make handicrafts).
–       My daughter and I were hungry…especially my daughter was hungry.  We are no longer hungry and I am happy (A mom who has faced much tragedy in the past year, but now is able to make a bit of income washing clothes and helping EHE make handicrafts).
–       EHE has supported my daughter.  EHE has become like family to me.  (A widow who has struggled with breaking the cycle of addiction and begging, but is taking steps).

Stories of freedom…stories of joy and community.  Stories of hope being embraced by some really awesome Moms & their children.

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