Patience's Story

Patience's story is just one of many, and she represents the dozens and dozens of women in our program who have risen above oppression to choose a better life for themselves and their families. Her story is still being written, as she's a current student in our Kaunda Square location. She will graduate this coming March. During our recent trip to Zambia we asked who would want to share their story with our CiH family in America, and Patience was eager to do so. 

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The Very Beginning Pt. 4

We learned that we could eat dinner for less than $1 if we bought day-old scones at the grocery store and dipped them in our jar of peanut butter. We learned that Coca-Cola is cheaper than water, but probably won’t make you feel good if it’s all you drink. We learned how to say hello, how are you, and see you tomorrow in Nyanja. And we also learned that we could really get on each other’s nerves. 

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The Very Beginning Pt. 3

Mark and I just look at each other and utilize our nonverbal sibling communication skills. He’s squirming, I’m squirming. Please just let us type this five-page document to get us out of here sometime today. But we trust, we let him do his thing, and meanwhile I’m going weak in the knees as the day heats up and the cow tongue smell becomes especially pungent in this dark, cramped, busy market stall. 

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The Very Beginning Pt. 1

As we’re gearing up for our Gala for Hope(s) this September, I’ve been pulling tons of Elina photos from the CiH archives. Photos of us together over the past 7 YEARS that I’ve known her. And before we look ahead, dreaming together at our Galas, I wanted to share this story, this incredible story of one simple “yes” making ripples throughout entire communities in Zambia. Not really “my” story, but the story that I get to be part of. A gloriously messy, painfully thrilling, hope-filled, risky, adventurous, faith-filled story. 

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Where Are They Now: Jessy's Story

Jessy is one entrepreneurial woman. 

A mother of 5 and grandmother of 6 children, she joined our program in 2012 with the very first group to complete our skills-training program. Jessy appeared to be shy and timid, but we now know her to be a woman of less words spoken because of the many thoughts she's constantly entertaining in her mind - she's brilliant. 

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Esther is Back!

Happy New Year!

We hope each of you have had a joyful and HOPE-filled start to 2016. We are so excited to share the results of our year-end campaign soon, but first we wanted to share this story. And if you’re new to our CiH family, welcome!

As many of you know, one of our ladies, Esther, was in a tragic accident a couple months back, resulting in the death of her husband and two of their children. Esther is part of the House of Moses Orphanage partnership class, identified as vulnerable to having her children taken away if her and her husband couldn’t find a way to earn an income. This vulnerable identification was placed on them from the Zambian government before the accident. 

Imagine the past couple of months that Esther has faced. Not only did she bury her baby and first born child, but she also attended the funeral of her husband, housed all out-of-town relatives for months, lost her primary income source (her husband), and struggled to survive. 

After we shared her difficult story, you all stepped up, big time. You donated almost $1,000 to cover her immediate expenses of food, soap, child’s school fees, etc. And together with the community of our CiH classes, Esther and her remaining child have survived. They have been comforted, encouraged, uplifted. They have felt great pain, but they have also experienced great hope through the women surrounding her who have spent hours praying with her, cooking for her, cleaning her entire home. 

We expected Esther to be out of class for weeks, months, potentially a year, until she could get herself out of bed and re-join the group. But just THIS WEEK, the start of a new year and her graduation year, Esther walked back through our doors. Still tender, still hurt, but walking forward, stepping into community, and making progress in her healing process. 

 (Esther in yellow, working on her end-of-course practical exams)

(Esther in yellow, working on her end-of-course practical exams)

We are so proud of Esther. We are so overjoyed to have her back at our Chikondi Community Center. Esther thanks each one of you who have played a part in her story of rising from the ashes. It’s just the beginning, but she is so very thankful. 

And also just as exciting, Esther is looking forward to the future now. She is dreaming of ways to care for her child, not out of desperation but out of pride and hope. With your contributions made in 2015, we are able to provide Esther with a seed for her to launch her own business, a long-term solution to her immediate needs. 

Esther will receive a sewing machine and materials, an opportunity given to her by you. A rare occurrence in our programming, but a bright solution to a tragedy in our family. Esther will graduate this March, and she has already started working on her final examination sewing projects. She will start sewing and selling curtains as her business, and she is so excited about it. 

We are, too! For a woman to grasp a long-term solution rooted in education and independence, especially coming out of such a dark situation, is incredible. Her forward thinking and desire for dignifying work is such an encouragement to us, and I hope it is to you also, as Esther paves a new way for women in Zambia. 

Esther’s story has touched more lives than we thought possible. And she’s just one woman in our program. Thank you for being a part of a movement so impactful in the lives of so many. 

With Chikondi,
Amy

Through Rose's Eyes

Rose is 45 years old, a mother of two children, and part of the newest graduating class from our Chikondi Community Center training program in Zambia. On Saturday, September 12, our entire CiH family gathered together at our center for a most joyful graduation day as we celebrated our largest graduating classes yet, a total of 8 women! Rather than recap all of the details that just don’t do the day justice in how incredible it was, I wanted to share the day through one story- Rose’s story. 

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When Life Gives You Lemons, You Make A Skirt

The storm that destroyed the facility couldn’t destroy the passion and determination with the Muchochoma Village ladies and our training staff. When life gave them lemons, they made skirts. They made skirts sitting on maize sacks on the ground in the sunshine. The most beautiful skirts from the most inspiring determination. 

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Unlikely Students

Our heartbeat has been for the vulnerable women of Zambia since the very beginning. And in telling those stories, the cultural norms often come out strong, presenting husbands and fathers as the abusers, as the neglecters, as the ones who don’t care and don’t want to care. And while that’s most always the case with the stories we hear from our ladies, there’s always an exception to the rule. And for this particular story, there are two exceptions to the rule. 

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