I’m not a mother yet, so I don’t have any stories of my personal experiences as a mom. I anticipate that day and I look forward to using this community for resources, encouragement and refreshment when that day comes. Today, I would love to share about the moms that I have the opportunity to work with! Truly, I want to brag on them and share a few things that I have learned through my relationship with them.
I founded and run a non-profit called Hands Producing Hope that works with women in developing countries to provide them with the economic, educational and spiritual resources necessary to empower them to rise above poverty. We have 20 women in our program, all who live in Costa Rica on the Guaymi Indigenous Reservation. 17 of the women in our program are mamas and most of them have quite a few babies. I have the joy to see them about every 6 months and every time I am there at least 2 new ladies are pregnant and I get to meet a brand new baby or two! It’s so fun!
These mamas that we work with have faced quite a lot of hardship. Their people group is discriminated against, women are treated as pieces of property, and they live in a remote location. All three of these factors have played a significant role in a lack of employment, education, and health care. Through our program, these women now have dignified work producing jewelry and accessories that reflect their culture and heritage, have access to various life skills classes and are introduced to the Gospel and other resources to get plugged into the local church. Working from home has been a great advantage for these mamas! When much of their day is spent stoking a fire, cooking meals, collecting water, and running after their children, we have found that having the flexibility to work at home and pick up and set down the work whenever needed is very helpful. Over the past year, it has been a joy to see transformation that has occurred now that these women have ownership over something, can help provide for their families, are learning of their value and worth, and have a place to come together and be in community with other women in their village.
Much like the heart of Thrive Moms, we long to see that all the moms in our program do much more than merely survive. We want to see them thrive economically, spiritually, and as mothers! We are so excited to see what the lives of their children look like years from now. They are now growing up with mamas who are learning their identity in Christ. They are now growing up with mamas who lead by example of working hard. They are now growing up with mamas who are able to ensure they receive the education and health care that had not been possible before.
I always find myself learning something new and being inspired in a new way whenever I am with the women and their families. I would love to share with you a few things I have learned from the HPH women regarding motherhood:
1. Your ability to provide your children with material possessions does not determine your worth as a mother.
2. Asking for help isn’t shameful. It is actually quite noble.
3. All mamas are perfectly unique yet have this beautiful commonality of motherhood that can bring people together and build this instant sense of community and understanding.
To conclude, let’s do a giveaway!! This is a great way for you to stay connected with what we are doing at Hands Producing Hope and enter to win a $30 gift certificate to our online shop! Thank you for being part of this community and thank you for your heart to see women around the world THRIVE!
Rebecca Gardner is the Founder and Director of Hands Producing Hope. She is a 2013 graduate from Virginia Tech and has recently transplanted to Baton Rouge from VA with her husband Tready. When she isn’t wearing her many hats at HPH you can find her working in the community garden, playing with any baby (human or animal) within a 100 yard radius of her, discovering new beers, and planning out her next adventure in a new corner of the world.
Stay connected with HPH!