Viewing entries tagged
poverty

Comment

Lost or Found?

For those of us who are fortunate enough to live in the relative prosperity of the developed world we are generally accustomed to having things go well for us in life. We have a minimum set of expectations that include having comfortable shelter, adequate clothing, and enough food to satisfy our desires. In fact our expectations have steadily risen beyond the basic necessities of life to include the expectation that we can and will enjoy many of the prosperous extras of our culture. We have a strong entitlement attitude that is a part of our emotional makeup. Our expectations have risen to the point that when occasionally things do not go our way it is very easy for us to quickly become critical and negative. I am afraid we have developed, far to frequently, into a generation of whiners. However, for the people that New Hope Initiative ministers to, those living in the developing world, their expectations are often a great deal more basic than ours. They expect life to be hard. They are never shocked when difficult times arise. They intensely enjoy times of blessings, but they have no expectation that these good times will continue. I witnessed a great illustration of this attitude when we came across a young man in Kibera this summer who only had one shoe. Looking from the cultural perspective of a 21st century American we immediately formed an opinion of the situation and asked him how he had lost his other shoe. I will never forget the straightforward, yet incredibly insightful answer of this young man. "I didn't lose a shoe...I found one."

We should all learn a lesson from the simple wisdom of this young man. Life is sweeter, life is more intensely enjoyed, life is considerably more blessed when we set aside our expectations, when we shelve the entitlement philosophy of our generation and begin to be appreciative of every joy, every blessing, and every found shoe in life. This week why don't you try to focus on the things you have found, instead of the things you have lost! A shoe found is a lot more enjoyable than a shoe that has been lost.

By Sandy Baird - Director of New Hope Initiative

Comment

Comment

Meet the Women of Project Biashara: Mary Muthoni

Project Biashara (“business” in Swahili) is one of the primary ministries of New Hope Initiative in the slum of Kibera, in Nairobi, Kenya. The project grants micro-loans to women to provide capital in starting small businesses. These businesses range from selling produce, to making jewelry, to even starting hair salons. There are about 50 women involved with Project Biashara and they are now able to better support their families and raise their children. Mary Muthoni is one of the many women involved with Project Biashara. She is 65 and has eight children (Thiongo, Wambua, Mburu, Wajiuru, Njoronge, Njau, Nyokabi, Ngathoni, and Wairinu (passed away)) and four grandchildren (Joyce, Dennis, Pauline, and Brian). She sells sweet potatoes and casaba for her business.

Through Project Biashara, Mary uses her profits to cover rent, purchase clothes and food, help pay for her children’s school fees, and cover the costs for her diabetes medication.* Her business also allows her to spread God’s love throughout the community. As a Christian businesswoman, she is a positive role model for the community and is now able to tithe and give offerings to her church. Project Biashara is truly a blessing in Mary’s life, but it does not mean that life is without its difficulties.

When the economic crisis hit in the United States just a couple of years ago, the entire world felt the impact. The devaluation of the Kenyan currency through massive inflation has led to a much higher cost of living throughout the country. This change is magnified in regions like Kibera, making it difficult for Mary to sell her produce. As a result, it is more challenging for her to purchase the essentials that she needs.

Regardless of the current challenges in her life, Mary is very grateful for Project Biashara and everything God has done in her life since she first came to Christ 10 years ago. She asks that you keep her and her family in your prayers. Please pray that her diabetes stabilizes and for overall better health. Also, pray for her children and grandchildren, that they would receive clothes and the school fees needed to further their education and pave their way out of poverty. Lastly, pray that God opens doors for her business and her witness. God is more powerful than a difficult economic time and Mary knows that He will continue to work wonders in her life.

* At the time of the interview with Mary, she and many other women had to pay for their medications. Since most of the medications were imported from other nations, the cost was quite expensive. Mary often had to choose between purchasing her medication or food. If she took her medication without food and on an empty stomach, she would get sick. However, if she didn’t take her medicine, her diabetic symptoms worsen. Now, as a result of your support, New Hope Initiative is able to provide the medication for women like Mary. She will not have to make a decision between medicine or food in the future.

By Michael Holmes

Comment

Comment

A Little Girl Named Irene

Irene has lived her entire 12 years in a small village in northern Tanzania. Her community is rurally poor, however her family provides a loving and happy environment for young Irene.  When her health began to rapidly decline in June, the tranquility of Irene's family shattered. Her mother took her to a local clinic, but their lack of expertise and her family's financial situation prevented her from receiving the required treatment. As Irene's strength continued to fade, her mother became increasingly desperate, fearing for her little girl's life.  She made the decision to try a clinic 2.5 hours away in Arusha where, according to the talk, the facilities and staff were excellent and where you could be treated even if your financial resources were meager. Irene and her mom took the arduous bus journey, made even more difficult by her severely weakened condition. They arrived at New Hope Initiative’s Clinic in the Olorien neighborhood of Arusha, where she saw Dr. Byemba and his staff immediately. Following in-house blood work, she was diagnosed with malaria, a urinary tract infection, an amoeba, and an umbilical hernia. The staff gave her mother all the necessary medications and, for the first time in weeks, Irene’s mom was finally confident that her daughter would recover.

Little Irene’s dramatic story was 1 of 134 similar stories that day, of hopeless people receiving a healing touch from the amazing staff of New Hope Initiative’s Medical Clinic. Thank you, ministry partners, for saving little Irene and for making the ending of this difficult story a happy one.

By Sandy Baird - Director of New Hope Initiative

Comment

Comment

Forging A Path Out Of Poverty

Poverty is a villain who terrorizes, oppresses and represses.  It takes the path of unworthiness, defeat and sorrow.  I feel this sorrow as I consider poverty and a deeper sorrow as some of its victims have now entered my life and become my closest friends. As a result, my path in life is to fight against poverty, to challenge its violent and relentless pursuit to take its subjects.  It is an evil regime that has preceded and will continue to proceed the majority world.

Along my path I have found many organizations accomplishing credible feats in this battle and I heartedly commend and thank them.  But there is an organization I can personally and intimately endorse in its efforts and that is New Hope Initiative, where we are initiating change by carrying the Good News of God's love thru nutrition, education, micro-loans for small businesses and providing medical care for those who are as poor as you can imagine.  Sub-Saharan Africa is home to 400 million of them.  Their simple dwellings have no electricity, no running water or sewage system, women cook with charcoal, they wash their clothes in a tub, they get up early in the morning to walk to market and sell their produce or wares.  They return home at night to prepare meager dinner for their families or no dinner at all.  As men lose their self worth women and children bear the brunt of their trauma.

Yet I have found some things along this path.  I have witnessed to what extremes a mother will go for her child.  I have found that amidst the strife and hopelessness God is right in the middle of it.  He knows it all, He sees it all, and He has great compassion for us all.  Also I have found that even the most difficult life is still a treasure.  As far as poverty seems from the throne of heaven, I can still hear His voice.  I see light in the darkness and hope burning bright for the future.

Join us in forging this path out of poverty...

By Karen Baird - Director of New Hope Initiative

Comment