Lety has been part of PokoMaya, our women’s artisan guild, for many years. She has improved her sewing skills through PokoMaya training sessions. In addition to her sewing skills, she has grown in her faith through the times of prayer, worship, and Bible devotions that were part of these sessions.
The women of ASOSAP have walked alongside her and encouraged her to put her trust in God at all times, especially challenging times. Since joining PokoMaya, one of those difficult times came. Her husband passed away and she was left alone to earn an income and care for her three children (aged 10,12, and 15).
The sewing skills she had learned and honed in Pokomaya provided the means to put food on the table. She had the chance to move out of her rental home when she heard about an organization that was offering land to low-income families. She took a chance, gave up the rented house in the center of town, and moved her family to a new, more isolated area on the edge of town. It was unknown and scary, but she felt that it was better for her family to have a place of their own and invest in the future, instead of paying rent every month. The new land had no house on it, so she worked and strived to put together a simple, rustic shelter with cloth walls, for her family. When we heard about this, we offered to help her.
This is Lety’s testimony:
“I’m very grateful to God for giving me the opportunity to get to know ASOSAP and for giving me a place to acquire new knowledge. During this year, because of the pandemic, there were very few PokoMaya orders. I only received a very small amount of sewing work, but with this I was able to survive during this time.. I was worried about how I would provide my children with daily food. That wasn’t my only worry. I was concerned about the house that we started living in. It was built with materials that I had available to me, such as cloth, some boards of wood, and pieces of cardboard. That is how we constructed somewhere for us to live. We’ve been living in this space for a year and these materials have started to deteriorate. At night my children were very cold as the cold air flowed through our home. BUT, God is so good. ASOSAP, with the help of others, provided me with the materials needed to fix my house. I feel a great sense of relief. I’m no longer worried about how I will obtain the money needed to buy these materials. I’m not able to repay you for all that you’ve done for myself and my children. Thank you!”
We know other women have been watching Lety and have observed her bold steps of faith. We also know that Lety is prepared to help them as they follow in her footsteps.
Erika and Alicia:
Erika a is a 22-year-old woman from the village of Pampacche. She showed great courage and determination in the face of consecutive losses of her newborn children. Nurse Alicia played a key role in helping Erika keep her faith and courage and to finally overcome. Alicia herself, empowered by ASOSAP, broke a strong cultural taboo. The taboo believed that the sole function of women was to marry young, stay at home, and raise children. With courage and faith in God, Alicia became the first woman in her village to leave and pursue a career. She trained as a nurse, has returned to her village as the health post nurse, and is now highly respected by all. Every day, Alicia models what faith in God and courage can accomplish. The empowerment she received, she now pays forward by helping women like Erika.
This is Erika’s story:
“I have gone through a very sad and difficult experience. When I was 17, I became pregnant with my first child. I tried to take care of myself as best as I could, but sadly my baby died 15 days after birth. He was born underweight and I didn’t have enough breast milk to feed him. He developed pneumonia with a high fever and then passed away shortly after. A year later I became pregnant again and the same thing happened. I was very sad because of what was happening to me.
I think I wasn’t able to get enough nutrition. My husband works as a day laborer and our income isn’t stable. One day he might have work, but then go days without work. Without work we don’t have food to eat. So, there are days that I eat well and others that I do not.
At 22, I became pregnant again. I tried to eat well and go to all of my prenatal checkups. Everything was going well in my pregnancy. I gave birth to a daughter in hospital, but there was a problem. The doctor told me that she was born very small and needed to stay in hospital for a few days. I was very worried about what could happen, so I decided to speak with the ASOSAP nurse. I had heard that ASOSAP has helped many women in situations like mine. The nurse said that she would evaluate my daughter’s growth upon hospital discharge. She was in the hospital for a month. Upon discharge, I took her to the health post for evaluation and to see how they could help me.
My daughter Yenifer weighed 4lbs and measured 40cm at birth. After discharge from the hospital (at 2 months old) she weighed 5lbs and measured 42cm. The ASOSAP nurse said she wasn’t gaining weight well. ASOSAP has helped me to be able to give formula to my baby and she is now gaining weight. Every month I take her to the health post for growth monitoring. Nurse Alicia told me that she gained 1.5 lbs. This news made me so happy. My baby is going to be 3 months old soon and she is recovering slowly. I hope that God allows her to live longer and helps me to take care of her well. May God bless ASOSAP and may they continue supporting my baby until she no longer needs assistance.”
Erika is an example in her community of a mother’s dedication and faith in God, that others can look to and imitate. There is also promise in baby Yenifer’s life. God used Erika, ASOSAP, and Alicia to save her. We can only imagine what great plans God has for her life. We know that Erika will continue fighting for her daughter and encourage her to be strong woman who makes a positive impact like her mother and nurse Alicia.
Maria is 17 years old, single, and lives with her parents in the village of San Lucas. Conzuelo met her and her family while doing home visits, always a first step when we first start partnering with a village.
During the visit, Conzuelo learned that Maria was in high school and had good grades. Maria wanted to complete high school and then continue studying to achieve her goal of becoming a nurse. She didn’t want to marry and start a family at age 17 like her older sister had done. However, her parents had said no.
Conzuelo encouraged the parents to take advantage of Maria’s desire and ability in her studies, that the investment in her would be worth it. Maria’s parents wavered in their initial decision, worried that they could not afford the higher education. After prayer and consultation within ASOSAP, and further discussions with Maria and her parents, a plan was agreed upon. ASOSAP committed to raising funds for a laptop for Maria, an essential tool in her studies. The family agreed to do their part to support Maria in her education. Maria committed to studying hard and to achieve her goal. With donations from partners in North America, Maria received her laptop. This family now sees the value of educating women and, family by family, this can be encouraged in this community and others. Maria and her parents have created another role model to encourage other village women.
We have enjoyed sharing the stories of these remarkable women with you. We thank those of you who partner with us to promote positive change and transformation in the lives that we touch. We invite you all to celebrate the women in your lives who are making history amongst you!