So here's where we are on the first part of the chart I'm trying to fill. It's looking more red every day! Progress! This makes my hunger all worth it. Thank you for your support of the campaign!
Before I get into how I made $1 worth of food stretch across three meals today, I wanted to share a little about our human trafficking response program called "She Has Hope" — a program that benefits directly from the exponential mathematical power of the "Heart-Chart" above.
If you have a moment to read a very encouraging story of hope, this will encourage you:
She Has Hope is a program I co-founded with our Nepal Director "Bimal" about six years ago. As Bimal trekked extensively to remote Himalayan villages in search of orphan children in need of rescue, he would tell me story after story of families reporting young teenage girls as missing. In researching the problem, we discovered that there was a full blown trafficking crisis in Nepal.
Desperate to believe the lies of the traffickers because of the extreme poverty these families face— often times literally not knowing where tomorrow's food will come from—they fell prey to their lies about their daughters being able to get good jobs in big cities in India to send money back home.
We knew that the families in these remote villages needed to be made aware of the false claims and tricks of the traffickers. So we began by going village to village hosting town hall style seminars explaining the strategies and lures of the traffickers, how to spot them, how to avoid them, and how to report them.
As we became more familiar with the crisis, and as our teams visited more and more villages, we started to spot another facet of the crisis: girls who had been liberated in police raids in India and sent home, only to be socially shunned in the midst of their recovery upon coming home. Without a rehabilitation program, it was nearly impossible for these girls to be integrated back into their local societies after facing such trauma.
So we saw that there was a need to start a rehabilitation home for these girls, so with the little funding we had, we rented a new space and opened the home in March of 2012. Since that time, we've rescued and rehabilitated 132 girls (ages 13-28) at our home in Kathmandu, where they live for 6-8 months, receiving counseling and medical care (some are HIV positive), and room & board in a safe and peaceful harbor.
110 girls have graduated from our skills development program, where they become proficient in several craft-making, seamstress, and cooking and gardening skills, and receive support in basic literacy and the fundamentals of small business accounting through daily coursework offered by our full-time teachers.
Through their craft-making and seamstress work, the girls learn to sew various popular styles of Nepalese and Indian dresses, make stuffed animals, and knit sweaters, gloves, and baby hats. They also learn to make beautiful jewelry items, such as necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. Many of the girls’ crafts are sold online at SheHasHope.org, and all proceeds directly support their rehabilitation.
Our rehabilitation program has also enabled 47 of the graduates to start their own tailoring and craft-making businesses, often located in their hometown villages. With the skills that they have acquired through our development program, we are encouraged that they are very successful in their ventures. 26 of our graduates have gotten married, and 17 of them have also had children.
Our girls’ successes and redemptive triumphs in life are the fulfillment of our vision to equip girls enrolled at the ‘She Has Hope’ home with everything they need to know to stand on their own, healed and full of hope.
5 of the graduated girls, filled with gratitude for how our program has provided them with a new and joyful life, have come back to the rehabilitation home to encourage newly rescued girls, sharing their testimony about their restoration, recovery, and how they have utilized the skills they learned in our development program. One such graduate has even stayed on to join our staff at the home.
This is a story of true hope. What before seemed to be an impossible situation has now fleshed itself out in the form of a redemptive and restorative success story for young women coming out of hopeless situations.
And you can see the proof in their smiles... I have had the amazing honor of visiting the home about 10 times and these are some of my portraits of their hope.
As you might imagine after meeting such courageous women, not only myself but hopefully anyone with half a heart would have their heart broken and be humbled upon hearing their individual stories and the darkness they miraculously survived.
That is why I'm so compelled to take this challenge yet again, if nothing else, for them and for the awareness of the needs of this critically important program. If you've read this far, then I've accomplished my task of awareness.
But after awareness, we need motivation to believe any action we might be able to take, however small, can count— to believe that our small contribution can actually make a difference. I'm here to tell you, it can, and it does, make a difference, and we need you.
For those of you just tuning in, I'll recap what I'm trying to achieve with the "Heart-Chart" and my goal of finding 50 new sponsors for these "hearts" which I like to think of as representing lives being transformed and, ultimately, saved.
Why am I seeking monthly donors? The orphan care, child labor response, and human trafficking response programs we've pioneered at Peace Gospel and She Has Hope— while sustained in part by small business enterprise— need charitable support to be fully sustained. The budgets of these programs have fixed, monthly expenses. Thus, while one-time donations are deeply appreciated, it's the monthly donations that give us something to count on and plan with. Thus, long-term, they're the most powerful.
What I need next to stay on track for my goal. For day six, I need two people to sponsor the $24 and $28 hearts on our "Wall of Hearts"— this means you're willing to make a small monthly sacrifice to help ensure that the following merciful actions are fully funded each month. With your help, our monthly budget enables us to…
- Provide resident care for 290 orphans in 11 homes in Asia and Africa
- Operate 4 schools and 4 after-school care programs reaching over 1000 children
- Serve approx. 50,000 fresh meals to children in our programs
- Train 100s of girls how to avoid the dangers of human trafficking
- House, rehabilitate and empower 20 girls recovering from human trafficking
On to what I was able to create with just $1 worth of food today. Fortunately, thanks to so many great tips from readers of my previous blogs, I've been equipped with some recipes that make the meals appetizing, but the challenge remains in the lack of quantity I'm working with. So hunger is definitely an issue, but with a couple of small snacks per day such as a quick but very small bean-and-rice stir-fry, I'm able to manage.
Click or tap on image to enlarge...
2) Please visit my unofficial sponsor, Amazon.com through this link. 7% of your purchases made through the link are given to the work of Peace Gospel's programs helping orphans, at-risk children of the slums, and human trafficking survivors.
3) If you're compelled by my effort here, please share it with friends. One of the main goals is awareness. So if you can help with that, huge.
4) Leave me feedback. Please comment on this post, especially if you have any ideas about what I should try to cook with these ingredients I have available. I love hearing from you! It really helps!