Courage and strength…these qualities can be hard to come by when we grow up in the best of environments.
Now, imagine that you did not grow up in a healthy environment. Imagine that you grew up in a hard situation, that your mother was gone most nights prostituting herself, that your father wasn’t around, and that your siblings didn’t even have the same father as you. Imagine that gangs moved into your neighborhood and forced you to do things you didn’t want to do. Imagine that you were exploited, intimidated, and soon you were in so deep that there was no way out. Imagine that you went to jail, and had a baby there. Imagine the fear, the weakness, the uncertainty.
Imagine that you don’t have to imagine any of this at all because it’s your story, your life, where you come from. What would you do? How would you move forward?
This is reality for one of the young women who is participating in the Free The Girls micro enterprise at our site here in El Salvador. We will call her Karla. The story I shared above is part of her story, and it is the story of many girls in El Salvador.
But Karla’s story changed when she made a decision to follow Jesus Christ. Our paths crossed through our work in her community and we began to walk with her toward a better future.
Our work with Karla has not been easy. There have been ups and downs. She has rejected opportunities that came her way, made poor decisions, and struggled to put one foot in front of the other. But in the midst of it all, she has consistently clung to a faith that God was real and that because He loved her, just maybe she could become something.
Against all odds, Karla has become something. She has become a business owner. She now has her own small business selling bras to clothing vendors in her community. She has become a secure provider for her two young children. She has become an employer as she pays someone to help care for her children as she works. She has become a dreamer on the verge of moving into her very own home with her two kids.
She has become courageous and strong.
We recently had our monthly meeting with all of the women who participate in the Free The Girls program. For the first time ever, one of the girls stood up to share a piece of her story. That girl was Karla. She shared the success she’s had in the program, she shared that God has been faithful in her life. She didn’t want to share at first, but her recently discovered courage drove her to her feet. The other women applauded as she returned, glowing, to her seat.
Imagine the joy that Karla felt, the encouragement. Imagine the possibilities before her because God met her in a dark place, and brought her to a moment where our paths crossed. Imagine the difference it has made because someone prayed, or had a bra drive, or made a donation.
Now there is a future for her filled with courage and strength. Imagine where she will go. Just imagine.
Are you interested in helping girls like Karla to succeed in El Salvador? There are a few ways you can help! Click here to learn how you can have a bra drive to provide jobs for survivors of sexual exploitation in El Salvador, and around the world. Click here to donate to the work MTES is doing to assist survivors. Just indicate your gift is for “Resources for Survivors.” These funds help Karla and others with a variety of resources including housing, education, and job training through our programs.