Chapa Women


Chapa Women

To many, waiting is wasting. To God, waiting is working.  I love this quote by Louie Giglio.  Sometimes the hardest lesson in championing people in hard places is realizing that we must act and then get out of the way and wait. Two and a half years ago I was fortunate to travel back to Ethiopia with two storytelling gurus who helped capture the bold stories of women in the remote Chapa village. These women humbly voiced their desire for opportunity and education. Having been in community with these women for several years prior to the crowdfunding campaign, it was harrowing to hear their stories of basic survival. Most were single parents barely surviving let alone thriving. They often could only choose one child to send to school and other children remained at home to work or care for younger siblings. It was heart wrenching. I began searching for ways to tell their story and fundraise for their future. It is widely believed that in the developing world sustainable jobs for women are key to community and family wellbeing and advancement. I was grateful when fundraising extraordinaire, Mallory Brown and the uber talented Ryan Doyle said yes to joining me in Ethiopia to create a crowdfunding campaign.  We returned home from the Chapa village excited for the launch of the campaign.  You too were moved by the stories of the Chapa women and within 24 hours the capital project funds were raised in full.  We were hopeful the Children’s Hopechest indegionous staff would quickly get rolling with the development plan. They are experts in their respective communities and thirty jobs for thirty women would be underway. I could rest easy knowing I did what I told the women I would work diligently to do. Not so fast. What we could not have predicted was a lengthy lag that is a very long story so I’ll leave it at this, community development thoughout the world is grueling business. There are roadblocks and often corruption.  Proper steps must be followed and cultural norms must be honored in order to move forward correctly.  The process can be ugly when we long to act fast to help those in in need.  Patience becomes a virtue and a lesson we don’t want to endure. Alongside the staff of Children’s Hopechest we persisted, prayed and waited for resolve.  Donors waited and the women waited. Today I am pleased to report the arduous wait is over.  The skills training for the women’s jobs has begun. Poverty alleviation, savings programs, business operations and professional networking were just a few of the topics recently covered during the community trainings.  In addition to the forward movement with skills training the Chapa Carepoint is now under new leadership. The new Program Coordinator, Asnake, has extensive experience with various incoming generating activities.  Asnake took the original capital plan created three years ago and rewrote it to hopefully boost the numbers from 30 to nearly 60 women within this next year. This is amazing news and we can only imagine the fruit that will flow from so many women actively gaining opportunity.  The women will start careers in animal husbandry learning sustainable practice in agriculture and the breeding of livestock.  Here is a favorite quote from one of the women who is attending the trainings,  “I don’t yet have a job in my hand, but I am eager to work. After this training I will be exemplary for others. I am initiated to save on a weekly basis. If we all perform strongly we can change our lives.”  They waited for so long and while I know they face days of unspeakable challenge and often suffering I also know that they are some of the most faith-filled people I have ever met. They have persevered in strength, dignity and belief even when we at Begin With One wondered how many more months we would be required to be patient.   I invite you to follow Chapa/Begin With One Sponsorship Community, The Table Initiative and Children’s HopeChest as we all partner to raise awareness and support for the Chapa Community. We have a team visiting the Chapa Carepoint today and they will be sharing live updates. Thank you to many for your ongoing patience, prayers and of course donations. The story of the beloved Chapa women is one we look forward to watching unfold.