There is nothing like walking into the refuge of our workshop. As you enter in, you can feel the light and the peace. As the one US-based employee for New Hope Girls, and head of social enterprise, I get the unique opportunity to visit a couple times a year and experience this divine phenomenon in person.
Each time I enter in our workshop, I'm reminded of the Big Love that defines the space and is the key to the healing.
On my most recent visit, one of the artisans caught my eye - Milagros. I noticed that her default expression is one that is serious - marked by a furrowed brow. But then, when she began interacting with other artisans I watched her soften and ultimately, erupt into the most beautiful and carefree smile. I marveled how in the context of community I saw her come alive.
My curiosity was so piqued that I asked our workshop Manager, Wanda, to tell me a little bit more about Milagros. Here's what I learned:
Milagros came to us later in life. Within the culture of the Dominican Republic, some may have said it was too late for her. After a certain age, it is thought that you can't learn new things and your opportunity to have a purpose is over. At New Hope Girls, we know that is not true and no matter one's age or background, each person is Created for More!
With us, Milagros has found love that has been strong enough to push back on the loneliness and depression that once marked her days. She even shares that her weekdays, and workdays, are much better than her weekends - our workshop is her happy place.
Milagros has found healing and purpose for her life as she sews bags within the Sisterhood of New Hope Girls.
That is profound! It inspires me, encourages me, and fuels me forward! Her testimony underscores how employment with us is not just economic empowerment, it is transformational.
We are doing so much more than simply sewing bags!
We are creating a place of refuge and an opportunity for true freedom.
We are looking each women in the eyes and telling them of the Big Love that is relentless, never ending, untouchable and transformational.
We are adamant in our belief that each woman was made on purpose and for a purpose - there is no such thing as "too far gone".
We are walking with each women in healing - and in HOPE.