Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | August 30, 2011

The Road to Hope

Managua, Nicaragua

Women in prostitution on the road to hope.

Casa Esperanza is situated at the end of a dirt road that is scarred by erosion and flanked by tall tress. Hundreds of women in prostitution in Managua know this road well because it is the road to hope. Every week these women, many with children in tow, make their way to Casa Esperanza, the House of Hope. They walk there to hear an encouraging message from founder April Havlin and to make greeting cards and jewelry, part of a vocational training program offered at Casa Esperanza. April is committed to loving and empowering women in prostitution to leave the world’s oldest profession in order to realize their greater potential in Christ. And, women in large numbers are responding to her invitation and efforts to help. The difficulties and challenges of her work do little to slow her down. April is a woman on a mission — on a rescue mission.

In 2006, April started a new initiative to give women a hand up rather than a hand out. She offers women micro-grants to start businesses that can help them to support themselves and their families without having to return to the brothels. Since starting the program, April has given $75 grants to more than one-hundred fifty women who had good ideas for business ventures but did not have the resources to realize their dreams. The results are impressive. Out of more than one-hundred fifty businesses started, at least 75% proved successful. These are just some of the businesses started and that continue to provide income to women who once sold themselves in order to support their families:

• A piñata-making business.
• Selling flip-flops.
• Making and selling hammocks.
• Various baking and pastry businesses.
• A pig-slaughtering/processing business.
• Transporting goods to local markets.
• Selling women’s and children’s under-garments.

I spoke with a woman named Anna who used her grant to purchase a sewing machine five years ago. She now runs a successful tailoring business that has enabled her to support her family. She no longer has to sell herself in order to put food on her table. She has been out of the brothels for over five years, all because of a $75 dollar grant that enabled her to buy a sewing machine. When recent flood waters inundated her little home, she told me that she and her sons moved the sewing machine to higher ground but lost everything else. They have no regrets about choosing the sewing machine over all other possessions. To many of us in America, $75 dollars is not a lot of money, but to the women who have been selling themselves in Nicaragua’s brothels for $1.50 per customer, this grant means the difference between a life of continuing despair or a life of hope. Because of the kindness of Kingsland members, our missions ministry is providing the funds to underwrite grants to an additional forty women — money well invested to bless women on the road to hope.


Responses

  1. Didn’t know that you and Jon were going to Nicaragua this week! Will pray for you. We had such a wonderful trip down there this summer with the juniors. Reading your blog makes me miss the women and children at House of Hope even more than I already did! God bless your trip!

    • Thanks for your prayers, Carla. We are headed back to Katy in a few hours. Quick trip!

  2. Gina: Glad to read the story about the Havlin’s. I have you and them on my prayer list.


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