To say that women are second-class citizens in the country of Honduras is an under statement. Honduran Women, typically, have no hope of improving their plight in life. They are often victims of brutal violence and their perpetrators are rarely, if ever, held accountable. Women’s rights are almost unheard of, and the country turns a blind eye to the violence and abuse that haunts their female citizens. Learned helplessness and lack of hope is the norm for many women.
God blessed Janet and Lori with the insight and the determination to make change.
The Lord planted in Janet and Lori's hearts that something needed to be done. There needed to be a way for the women of Honduras to become independent and empowered, so that they could feed and clothe their children year round. Mi Esperanza was born.
Mi Esperanza began by issuing micro loans to the Honduran women who had a spirit of entrepreneurship. This proved to be successful. The school followed with sewing classes and grew to computer skills training, life skills classes, cosmetology training and now jewelry making.
God has blessed Mi Esperanza more than one could have imagined. As one of the first board members, I have witnessed God's grace for the past 13 years as He has gently nudged Mi Esperanza in one way and then another. We began selling handmade bags on-site to visiting volunteers the expanded to youth conferences and lectureships and have grown to selling beautifully handcrafted handbags and lovely jewelry pieces from our online store. God surprised us with the opportunity to partner with and produce fair trade products for several designers.
The online store is operated from my home in Hot Springs, Arkansas With great love, I package and ship each and every Mi Esperanza product to every state in the United States and now to Canada.
A recent visit to Honduras had me working side by side with a beautiful soul, Aracely Velasquez. Aracely has been employed by Mi Esperanza for the past 5 years and her job consists of sort of a Girl Friday. She cleans, organizes and does whatever needs doing. She is a Honduran wife and the mother of a lovely 12 year old little lady, Xermana. Xermana is a gifted child and was in public school until Mi Esperanza afforded her to receive a more elite, bi-lingual education at a private school.
When I asked Aracely what her hopes and dreams are she replied a very selfless response. It was interpreted that she said, "My dreams are for my daughter to attend the university here in Tegucigalpa." Interestingly, when I asked Xermana what her dreams are it was interpreted,
"I love animals and want to be a veterinarian or a doctor, something medicine."
The difference a generation makes is astounding! An empowered Xermana does not view herself as a victim of a brutal society where women have no value. She has realized the Hope of having a future as an independent Honduran woman.
God's love and grace is real. I dare say that Janet and Lori's vision was small compared to what God had planned for their Mi Esperanza. The Mi Esperanza story begins with two brave women with hearts longing to provide Hope for disenfranchised women.
And provide Hope, He did. Kea