Monthly Archives

April 2023


By Project Stories

A go-getter going places.

We were in Sevanagar, India, attending a graduation ceremony for a group of women who had completed their tailoring program—a vocational training project The Hope Venture has in Southern India. It was a lovely outdoor ceremony, complete with colorful drapery as decor. A couple women sang, and a couple others from the currently enrolled class shared a bit about why they decided to enroll. We were hoping to talk with one of the current students after the ceremony about their story, so I listened intently and took notes as some of them got up to share.

One of the women who shared was named Divya. Dressed in a beautiful black and gray sparkly sari with a red lip to complete the look, she shared that before she took up the tailoring program, she would waste away her free time on her phone every day. My eyes widened in amazement and my head nodded empathetically as I listened. “Huh,” I thought, “I can relate to THAT.” I jotted a note about it on my phone. I was full of awe and respect at how honest she was with all of us. When the ceremony concluded, I looked back through my notes and knew she was who I wanted to talk to.

After the hustle and bustle of celebratory group photos, I picked Divya out from the crowd and asked if I could hear more of her story to share with people back home. “Yes, yes, of course, go ahead,” she replied. We went off to the side and chatted, and one of the first things I learned was that she was 23. I smiled—I’m also 23. I asked about her family. She has an older brother who’s 25. My face lit up in shock and excitement—I have an older brother who’s 25! You know that feeling you get when you meet someone and realize you’re the same age and in a similar life stage? It’s like you’re already friends and now you can relate on a much more personal level? That’s what it was like with Divya. I realized this girl who I thought was far older and more mature than me was actually my own peer and someone I could talk and laugh with as a friend.

We stood and chatted, and I learned more about who she was. She was working full-time at a corporate job, but in India, once you turn 35, you get laid off from your corporate job, whether you’re male or female. She was living with her mom, dad, and brother, but was the only person earning a consistent income and was providing for her whole family. Her mom was a housewife, her dad was a daily wage worker, and her brother had a job, but he was in debt, so all the money he made went to pay off his loan.

Divya was working Monday-Friday, from 3am-12pm. She told me that she loves staying busy, but noticed that once she got home from work, she’d spend the rest of the day on her phone. I shared with her that I could relate, and she sighed and rolled her eyes, acknowledging the bad habit. Back in March Divya decided to make some changes and enrolled in The Hope Venture’s tailoring program. By going to tailoring class after work everyday, she is not only filling her time with something productive, but she’s also looking to the future and learning a skill now that will generate income once she has to leave her job at age 35. Smart.

Now her days look like working from 3am-12pm, traveling an hour back home, spending an hour at home, going to tailoring class from 3-6pm, then going home and doing her tailoring homework. Repeat. My jaw dropped open as she told me this, and she giggled at my reaction. Not a lot of time-wasting there!

I was inspired by how much of a go-getter she was, and she wasn’t stopping with tailoring. Divya loves learning and already has a combination degree in Computer Science, Journalism, and Psychology, and wants to pursue a Masters (maybe two) in Psychology and perhaps Media Journalism.  “Time doesn’t come back to us,” she said. “Learning everything is good. Gaining knowledge is very precious.” Gosh, is she right. The wisdom this girl has.

I left Sevanagar with a new friend, and I think of Divya often. I’m cheering her on as she chases after her aspirations and I can’t wait to see where she goes in life, inspiring others along the way.

To impact more women like Divya, donate to our India Tailoring & Computers Project today!



By Featured, Project Stories

Real Love.

There are so many people on this earth, and we are all unique. This also means there are soooo many people who are different from us in many ways. But there’s a really cool example set for us by Jesus—he loved those who were different from him. Keeping that in mind, let me tell you a little bit about Ikram.

She comes from a family of dedicated Muslims and has four siblings. They embody hard work and generosity in all they do. However, there is still a need that they face. Ikram’s mom has been sick and her dad doesn’t give them any support. There were times that Ikram was sent home from school because she wasn’t paying the fees, and didn’t have enough money to. It wasn’t uncommon for her to go to bed hungry, trying to sleep so she could ignore her grumbling belly.

But then Ikram became a recipient of a student sponsorship through The Hope Venture’s partnership with Nasha Ministries in Narok, Kenya. Her school fees were paid for, and she didn’t have to worry about any inconsistencies with funding. She can now go to school without fear of getting told to go back home. She also has been provided with shoes, a uniform, and is able to take care of herself with the toiletries given to her. Ikram is excited to be in school and has almost completed her secondary education. Once she finishes up, she hopes to become a pharmacist, which will provide income and she can help support her family, leading them to a better financial situation. When there seemed to be no other options, a student sponsorship was the avenue of change for Ikram and her family.

We want you to see the radical change in Ikram’s story, the immense hope and the breathtaking beauty: she had a need, and it was met. We also want you to know that at The Hope Venture, we are trying to share real, practical love with people who need it, just as Jesus did. This means sharing this crazy love with ALL people, not just people who think and believe just like us. Ikram is a Muslim, and our partners who help her are Christians, but this difference doesn’t stop us from showing this real, practical love to Ikram and her family, meeting their real needs, making a real difference in their lives.

To impact more students like Ikram, donate to our Student Sponsorship Project today!



By Featured, Project Stories

An Optimistic Fighter.

Many people have heard of leprosy… from back in biblical times. It doesn’t get talked about a lot today, so to our surprise, it’s still around and is affecting real people in their real lives. Dharmu is one example of many who are impacted by leprosy. He lives in a leper colony in West Bengal in Eastern India. He’s 48 years old and has had leprosy since he was five. He lost both of his parents at a really young age, and was raised by his aunt, a chronic leper herself. Dharmu’s odds didn’t look too promising—an orphan and a leper—two things that qualified him as an outcast in society. He and his aunt didn’t have much money at all; his aunt never encouraged him to pursue any treatment for his leprosy or to go to school, so instead he joined her, sitting along the streets, begging for some extra money.

Fast forward to the present-day, and Dharmu is still begging for money. But this isn’t the lifestyle he wants to live. He doesn’t enjoy begging as his source of income, but it’s what he knew and learned from his aunt. But Dharmu’s a fighter. He’s never viewed his life as a lost battle, but as one to keep fighting—until his very last breath. He doesn’t let up, doesn’t back down, and does it all with a positive attitude.

Now he’s got a family of his own—Alo, his wife, and their two daughters: an eighth grader and a newlywed. Dharmu has the only source of income for his family, which he gets from begging. He’ll travel all over to beg… you can’t earn a lot if you stay in the same spot—you’ll become too familiar to the people passing by. He’s got a family to provide for, so he travels all around to bring in the most money possible for them. But this isn’t at a low cost. He’s gone so much, which makes him miss out on time with his family, missing those sweet life moments: the birthdays, the first steps, or the calm nights simply sitting and eating together as a family.

Dharmu never got regular treatments for his leprosy because the medicine cost too much, and it took a lot of time to travel to the hospitals for treatment. So he was continuing in the cycle of life he had always known… life as a leper and a beggar. An outcast.

But now he gets treatment for his leprosy at a medical clinic for leprosy funded by The Hope Venture and organized by our partner Murty. He gets this treatment free of charge to him, which includes checkups and medicine. The doctors at the center also noticed that he has high blood pressure and a vitamin deficiency while they were caring for his leprosy, so he is receiving holistic care by getting treated for those things too.

Dharmu knows he will never live a “normal” life… his leprosy has gone untreated for long enough that it has affected his nerves and he has lost part of his left foot. Yet he’s still optimistic about the treatment he’s receiving now, and he’s optimistic about the future. He wants to develop his own livestock farming business, right out of his own home! He dreams of a pain-free life, and wants to grow old with his grandchildren. He hasn’t lost hope, he presses forward for a life beyond the diagnosis of his medical condition.

To impact more people like Dharmu, donate to our Leprosy Care Project today!