It’s hard to believe that 17 years has passed since my first trip to Honduras in 1999 and as I sit and reflect I realize that it was at that intersection in my life; my world and the greater world; and everything changed for me because when you experience poverty and injustice in personal ways it changes you. On the final day of my first trip to Honduras a mother asked me to take her baby home with me, I went home wondering how hopeless life must be and how much love it takesto ask a stranger to take your baby because you know that that women can give your child a chance. I knew then that I never wanted another women to be in that situation or have to ask that question. I was profoundly effected by the hard reality that women do not have options to change life for themselves and they live in a constant state of survival. I knew I didn’t want the people I fell so in love with to feel forgotten. I was no longer living in ignorance. I had seen, so now what was I going to do?
What was clear to me is poverty has a woman’s face…70% of the world’s poorest are women and when women live without educational and financial resources generational poverty sets in and holds on with a tight grip. I saw the daily struggle women faced with no hope that it would ever be different. As a result, in 2002 I co-founded Mi Esperanza with the vision to walk along side women and provide opportunities that would allow them to create stable lives for themselves and their familiesWomen can and will overcome the greatest of obstacles when given tools and opportunity, so that became our focus. Women in control of the family income will spend 90% of their income on things that matter, things that change their future and the future of their children.
When a seed of a dream is planted and faithful steps taken amazing things happen. 15 years later I am still as excited and passionate as I was the day Mi Esperanza began, maybe more, because I see everyday that what we are doing is working, it is changing the lives of women. Every. Single. Day. We are seeing generational poverty broken and women and children living stronger and healthier lives. I am beyond blessed to be able to walk daily with our women and see the sparkle of HOPE in their eyes as they see that there is a different future ahead of them.
If you had asked me 15 years ago what Mi Esperanza would look like in 2017 I am not sure I could have envisioned all that it has become and all the ways it is helping women or how Mi Esperanza has become part of the fabric of this city. But now, my dreams and visions are bigger because the women we serve have taught me to be braver, bolder and more confident because together we have already accomplished so much.. and we are not done yet! The future is bright, its is big and it is ours to continue to create change and provide hope. It has been and continues to be a faithful journey that has my whole heart.