One of our newer programs is for single mothers, and mothers with a great need. Home visits are completed to evaluate the need. They receive monthly grocery aid, and attend a monthly educational meeting at our community center. These meetings focus on topics such as health, self-esteem, and teaching them new marketable skills. There are currently 20 women enrolled in this program, the majority have never attended school. In past meetings we have taught them to sew reusable bags, jewelry making, and how to make different baked goods. Our staff member Jose has been spearheading this initiative and we are extremely proud of her work. One of the ladies approached her recently and was telling her that after learning to make donuts she was able to make them at her home and sell them. She expressed her excitement that she was able to earn some money to help take care of her children. Jose relayed this story to us all with tears in her eyes. We seek to empower these women to support themselves, and create a new life for themselves and their children.

Continuing with this idea, we wanted to provide the women with a microbusiness. As we have briefly mentioned in past blog posts, we started a chicken project. We spoke to the ladies in the program and they were in agreement that instead of receiving their usual groceries for the month of May they would receive 2 chicken and a sack of chicken feed. These chickens had to be purchased locally in the town as Santa Maria de Jesus sits at an elevation of almost 7,000 feet above sea level. If you purchase a chicken from a lower elevation, and attempt to raise it at this altitude it will not survive. Not only will these chickens provide these women with a source of protein for their children through their eggs, they can also provide them with an income. Our feeding program for the elderly uses approximately 18 dozen eggs a week which we purchase from a neighboring town. Our hope is that as the chickens grow and the women continue to grow their business they can sell their eggs to our program. We have a great demand for eggs and are excited to bring our business back to our town.

Since the women have received their chickens in May, we have conducted three home visits to check up on their status. The women have been doing a remarkable job taking care of their chickens as they continue to grow. The cost of our program for single mothers is $30 a month. We are currently looking for 20 donors who are willing to commit to a monthly donation of $30 to partner with a family and secure a space in our program. If you are interested in donating to this exciting program you can do so via a recurring donation via Facebook or PayPal using our website. As always, we thank you for your support and encouragement and look forward to sharing more updates with you in the future.