All Posts By

Carrie Wehrman


By Featured, Project Stories

Fiercely Passionate in All She Does.

Arms slice through the air as they glide back and forth in a steady rhythm to propel the runner forward. Feet strike the ground to create a tempo boosting the runner with each stride. Lungs fill and deflate with deep breaths to oxygenate her system. Running a sprint is, well, intense… just like Linda. She’s driven, passionate, and diligent in her craft. She’s a sprinter, and a very talented one at that.

Linda was doing all the right things. She was a role model for other young girls at school and in track. She worked hard and excelled. But Linda was also dealing with poverty, and that put her in a bad place. Her mom couldn’t provide for her. Even though she had success and freedom at school, she still couldn’t afford basic items at home like soap and sugar.

In her hard-working, go-getter way, she wanted to improve her situation. So when a teacher at her school offered to help her out, she accepted. He began to provide money for some of her basic needs—but it came at a cost. He took advantage of her vulnerable state and demanded sex from her. After this happened multiple times, Linda became pregnant.

She felt so worthless. Shame overwhelmed her. She was beyond embarrassed because everyone at school knew what happened and called her names. All her dreams were stripped away. She stopped competing in track and couldn’t attend school. She was crushed, her dignity was depleted, and depression set into her deepest parts. Linda felt no value in living anymore. She would angrily look down at her pregnant belly through tear-filled eyes, punch her stomach, and yell. She did NOT want this baby, but even with her family encouraging her to abort, she wouldn’t go through with it because she had heard horror stories of women dying from abortion. She felt stuck in her ruined life and stuck with a new life forming inside her own… she wanted to just end it all.

It was in this state—this feeling of desperate brokenness—that Linda got connected to Wakisa, our partner organization in Uganda. She came to Wakisa during her pregnancy, and they helped teach, prepare, and transform Linda. It was at Wakisa that Linda found love. Found compassion. Found redemption. The counselors there helped her process through her situation, and let her cry on their shoulders. They loved her, and they helped teach her how to love her soon-to-be baby girl. They helped restore her dignity.

After Linda gave birth to her daughter, Elizabeth, she left Wakisa with a renewed sense of hope and strength in her life. Linda didn’t want to give up—she wanted to continue to work hard so she could provide for Elizabeth in ways that she was never provided for as a child. She went to a local church and learned how to cook. This sense of purpose and challenge reignited her flame of passion in life, just as it had burned when she was an athlete and student. She began volunteering at a kitchen and eventually, she was offered a job.

As incredible as it is to hear that Linda went from a high school dropout to keeping a full-time job that provides for her family, her story doesn’t have a fairytale ending. Yes, she pays her family’s rent and school fees for Elizabeth, but it’s still not enough. When we met Linda, she didn’t have enough money to send Elizabeth to school with a snack like all the other kids had, and she couldn’t afford medicine for her grandmother’s heart condition, so they just went without it that week. Whether it’s a simple school snack or necessary heart medication, it all resonates the same: Linda is still unable to make all the ends meet, even after doing everything she can. And yet, it’s Linda’s attitude that is so inspiring. She didn’t choose to be born into poverty, but she’s making the most of life. The strength of an athlete—a sprinter—burns in her as she presses forward to accomplish her goals.

To impact more women through Wakisa, donate to our Wakisa Skills Training Project today!


Mr. Sathish

By Featured, Project Stories

Following Through.

Sometimes our job titles can become simply that—just a title. But when Mr. Sathish Kumar tells you he is a principal of a primary government school in Doddahejjuru village in India, he embraces all that it is to be a principal. Out of everything that comes with his job, caring for his students is priority number one for him. Many of the students in his school come from families that don’t have much…they live in the Nagarahole forest area of India, and they face an interesting economic issue. There are many efforts in place to preserve the forest and wildlife within it, which is a good thing, but because of this preservation, there is little economic activity. Little economic activity leads to financial difficulties for communities and families, which is then felt among the children who aren’t able to get school supplies and a quality education, because their families simply don’t have the money.

Mr. Sathish Kumar sees the need his students have and wants to help because he longs for them to succeed, to achieve things they never thought possible. However, it seemed like not everyone longed for that same success for the students. Over time many people had visited the school and promised to help the children, but when they would leave, they never followed through on their word. This happened over and over until our partner, Sam, stepped in and followed through.

On June 5, 2023, Sam and his team followed through and distributed backpacks to 125 students at Mr. Sathish Kumar’s school! Getting to see the kids’ own excitement from this great gift, Mr. Sathish Kumar was overwhelmed and so, SO grateful. He had been waiting to see his students receive help for years, although he had no idea who would actually help them. The help was finally delivered in the form of backpacks!

Getting a backpack distribution to happen is no small task. Our partners loaded all the backpacks and supplies into a van and drove six hours one way to the village to distribute them to these kids! It’s encouraging to us, to know that our partners are full of integrity and grit, and are being the hands and feet of Jesus to the local people. They know the needs of these communities, they see it, and they want to do something to help—so they do.

There was incredible excitement buzzing among the kids, which also excited Mr. Sathish Kumar. He wanted to remember this incredible moment for his students, for himself. He asked our partners to plant a tree sapling on the school grounds to help remember the moment! It’s a sweet symbol…the tree will grow bigger and stronger with time, producing fruit, just like these kids will grow in their education since they can attend with all the supplies they need in these backpacks.

To impact more students like Mr. Sathish’s, donate to our Backpack Project today!



By Featured, Project Stories

A Mom’s Hope to See Her Daughters Succeed.

As a parent, you want to see your kids succeed. I mean, you wouldn’t want to see them fail and struggle, especially if you felt the setbacks were because of you. Sometimes, this is how Sharma felt as a mom. She has two daughters—Avantika, a second-grader, and Anamika, a first-grader—and they attend a state-run school a mile and a half from their home in Sowlore, India. Their school performance wasn’t great… their teachers would scold them because the girls didn’t do their homework correctly, but that was because they didn’t have anyone to help them with it. Sharma desperately wanted to be able to help, but her work schedule made it practically impossible for her to give her daughters the time and attention they needed. She works late into the evenings as a manual worker in the fields, and she has to if she wants to make ends meet for her family. She has a husband, but he’s a daily wage worker and he also has another wife with kids, so he splits his time between the two households. Even when he is around Sharma and the girls, he doesn’t really care for their needs. This basically leaves Sharma on her own to provide for herself and her daughters.

Sharma was feeling the weight of it all for quite some time, and she felt the weight of her daughters’ struggles in school. She was sad there was no one around for them after school—sad she wasn’t around. She felt helpless in helping them. What could she do? She couldn’t decrease her work hours because that would put them in an even worse financial situation, and they already were struggling to make ends meet. But she also couldn’t let things continue in the same way they were going—her inner mama bear wouldn’t stand for it.

So when Sharma heard about The Hope Venture’s tuition center, she quickly signed her daughters up. They could go to the Jack Norman Memorial Hope Center in Sowlore after school in the evenings, where they could get homework help—for free!

Their grades at school began to improve and they were no longer getting in trouble for poor performance on homework assignments. Sharma found comfort in knowing her daughters were being cared for after school in a safe place, and took joy in knowing this was setting them up for success in their education. She’s so thankful for caring people at the center that support her daughters, and herself, in a way. Gone are the days of Sharma feeling guilty for her daughters’ poor performance in school. Instead, she’s hopeful and excited for their futures. Her big mama bear heart cheers them on as they pursue their dreams.


By Featured, Project Stories

Finding Dignity in the Process.

There’s always a soothing process that comes with creating something new. Maybe it’s dipping your paintbrush in the paint, then lifting your arm to drag the bristles across the page; listening to the rough scratch of a pencil on paper as you scribble out your thoughts; or for some, busting out the sewing machine, pumping the pedal until you’ve reached the end of the thread. It’s in these processes that we can often find relief, comfort, or can simply take a deep breath. The creative process has a certain sort of cathartic release, providing an avenue to overcome the challenges of life or a way to let out your emotions. Sneha is a girl who knows this process well, and holds it dearly, especially as she faced obstacles in her life.

Sneha has physical disabilities in her arms and legs, limiting her capacity to work in manual labor, which is a common career path for people from Perumpally, the village she’s from in the Jawadhu Hills region of India. This wouldn’t have been a terrible problem for her because she was in school and could aim for a career outside of manual labor. However, this was quickly no longer an option since she would have to leave Perumpally to pursue higher education, and her parents didn’t want to send her away because of her physical disabilities. Life would be difficult to navigate in a new place on her own with her disabilities, and they wanted to protect her. So Sneha stopped going to school after 10th grade, which left her feeling extremely disappointed. She felt as if she couldn’t contribute to anything, and her disabilities were blocking her from new opportunities.

But Sneha had a friend who told her about a free tailoring course provided by The Hope Venture. Sneha gladly attended the classes and learned the skills, and now she can stitch clothes for herself and for her parents. Her family used to hire someone to stitch all their clothes for them, but now Sneha can do it herself—how dignifying! Not only can she help her family, but she can also turn it into a career for herself. She thought there were no options for something like this—that she was stuck being limited by her disabilities—but attending the tailoring class showed her differently.

So Sneha gladly takes her seat in front of her sewing machine—because it’s dignifying to work and provide a source of income for her family—but also because it’s joyous to use her hands and feet, which had always been a limiting obstacle in her life but now are used to bring hope and dignity to her life. She gets to engage in the creative process, giving her an avenue to find an outlet of release, using the very parts of her that once caused her so much grief. It’s a way to work the anger and frustration of her disability out, and in the process, create a new life for herself as she creates new garments.

To impact more people like Sneha, donate to our Jawadhu Hills Project today!



By Featured, Project Stories

The Dignity of a Garment.

The soft whirring of a sewing machine floats throughout a small home in a slum in one of India’s largest cities, Bangalore. Vaideeshwari faithfully spends hours at her sewing table, dutifully stitching intricate details into the garments of clothing she is working on by piecing sections of fabric together, or tailoring the garment to be the perfect fit for the wearer. She toils on… but not aimlessly. No, Vaideeshwari has a real sense of purpose and dignity in her work. She doesn’t see each piece of clothing she completes as just a garment, but as something dignifying. It’s dignifying for the person who gets to call it their own and wear it, yes, but it’s also dignifying for herself.

You see, Vaideeshwari comes from a family that doesn’t have a lot. She and her husband are trying to raise two boys—one in kindergarten and one in third grade—but there was a time when they were struggling to make ends meet. Her husband welds for daily wages, but that means there’s no guarantee of work every day, and at the time, that was the family’s only source of income. The inconsistency was stressful for Vaideeshwari because she wanted to be able to provide for her family. She wanted to help, but she had no education, wasn’t trained, and therefore, couldn’t find any work. Her family was stuck in a cycle, scraping the bottom of the tank just to get by from wage to wage from her husband’s welding.

That was until Vaideeshwari heard about The Hope Venture’s Vocational Training Center where sewing and tailoring skills are taught to many women who are often in situations similar to her own. She eagerly began attending the classes and learned the tailoring skills she needed. Now she can sew, stitch, bind, cut, hem, line, and press! She often makes dresses for women and children, and because of her work, she is able to get income for her family.

Some day, Vaideeshwari dreams of opening her own tailoring shop where she can continue to put her newly learned skills to use as she sews and alters clothing. For now though, even without her own shop, the income she is earning from her handiwork is steady and supplements the income her husband may earn. They can better meet the needs of their family and work towards making sure their sons have an opportunity to complete their education. And this—the ability to work and provide for her family—is what makes the garments Vaideeshwari creates so dignifying as she stitches them together. They represent her opportunity to engage in the act of working to honorably support her family.

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



By Featured, Project Stories

A Longing for Change.

Nataana longs to see her community changed. She prays for rain to revive the hardened, dry ground; for food to be multiplied and distributed to all the hungry bellies in her neighborhood; for goats to roam the land of every family’s property, to be milked and provide nourishment or income; for wide-open stretches of pasture, abounding in luscious, green grass; for all the children to spend their days in classrooms, being taught with a quality education; for these children to achieve their biggest, wildest dreams.

Her community in Mosiro, Kenya, aches with the burden of all these circumstances. And for Nataana personally, these challenges stare her right in her face. She’s a 36-year-old widow. Her husband died nine years ago from prostate cancer, and now she’s raising five kids on her own. Three of them are in school, and two are still too young and stay at home. Her heart sinks in pain as she mourns the loss of her husband, but also the loss of a dad for her children. She wants to take care of her kids—to clothe them, feed them, and educate them—but it’s challenging to do so with only one income. Plus, her household has been functioning off one income for quite some time, so they don’t have extra resources they can pull from. While her husband was still alive, he wasn’t able to work due to his medical condition with the cancer and his old age of 82 years. Nataana was the sole breadwinner, even back then. With her husband’s death, things didn’t get any easier. The drought raged on throughout the land, and she lost her six cows. She tried to sell all she had to meet the needs of her hungry family, and she was desperate for relief.

Then in early March of 2023, Nasha Ministries was able to partner with The Hope Venture to provide a goat for Nataana and her family! Goats are resilient animals, so even in drought they can do well, producing milk for Nataana’s family to drink for healthy nourishment, or to sell for some extra income. Livestock is highly treasured in her community, and receiving a goat in the midst of a long drought restored her hope. Through this, Nataana saw that God is the giver of food and life, and He provided another chance to replenish her lost dignity, and she received Christ as her personal savior. Receiving a goat was a glimpse into an answered prayer—to see the beginnings of restoration in her own family with the hope that it would ripple out into the community at large. She can hold onto this past provision of a goat to continue on in hope and prayer for greater change in her community in the future… for rain, for full bellies, for kids in school.

To impact more families like Nataana’s, donate to our Goats 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!



By Featured, Project Stories

Cared for with Integrity.

We receive some pretty tough stories from our partners about the recipients of our projects here at The Hope Venture. Our hearts break over the poverty, separated families, or the absence of educational opportunities that we hear about. However, the recipients’ stories are often ones of hope brought into a hopeless situation, and usually, the details of a person’s life can help us tell their story with truth and dignity… to highlight how they’ve been impacted while not neglecting the difficulty of their situation.

We’ve also been excited about all the new partners we’re building relationships with and the projects we’re able to start together. One of these projects is a high school scholarship for teen moms with our partners Miriam and Sylvia in Uganda. We heard a little bit about Jenaviv and her story from Sylvia, and wanted some more details about her backstory. We reached out to Sylvia for more information, and Sylvia displayed great integrity. She gently responded that due to the government information protection policy, she was restricted to keep some information confidential, and she didn’t give us the details we were asking for. “Wow,” we thought. We were taken aback by the character Sylvia showed and were so thankful that we had a partner who showed that she would choose protection and honor over divulging information just because we asked for it. And let us also say, we have trusted relationships with our partners. We talk, we share information… however, we appreciated Sylvia’s understanding of the local law and her choice to abide by it.

But, here’s what we do know about sweet Jenaviv. She was living with her mom and her stepdad, along with her two brothers and one sister in Uganda. She was going to school, then got pregnant at a young age—a devastating blow for an adolescent girl. She would quickly enter a whole new world… the world of motherhood, while still sorting through her own dreams, pursuing an education, and even just trying to figure out how to care for herself. She eventually gave birth to a son and named him Joram.

However, her parents weren’t so happy… they criticized and abused her psychologically for having a baby at such a young age. They weren’t helping her financially, and Joram’s father wasn’t helping either. The two of them don’t have a current relationship, and unless Jenaviv would ask him for money, he wasn’t contributing at all. Jenaviv has a hard time supporting herself and Joram, and since she couldn’t pay to go to school, she had no idea how she would get an opportunity for a steady job.

But Jenaviv’s story isn’t a strikeout—she became a recipient of a scholarship to continue her education as a teen mom. Her school fees and school supplies were paid for, and she began taking classes again. This provides a lot of relief to Jenaviv because she’ll have an opportunity to get a good job after she graduates. She wants to be a midwife and serve her community. With this opportunity, she has hope that Joram will have access to a good education in his future too!

So that’s what we know about Jenaviv and her story, and we’re so thankful she has someone advocating for her in Sylvia. Jenaviv has endured some hard situations, and she’s still in a tough spot with going to school as a single mother, but not all hope is lost. She’s getting back on her feet, she’s pursuing her future, she’s caring for her son… she’s not giving up in the fight. How incredibly encouraging is Jenaviv! Oh, that we might be like her—to not give up in our own fights! And to be like Sylvia—acting with beautiful integrity in our lives, caring for those around us.

To impact more students like Jenaviv, donate to our Scholarships for Teen Moms Project today!



By Featured, Project Stories

The Joy of Giving what You Have Received.

We have an idea we like to talk about here at The Hope Venture. It’s called motaj (moments of turnaround joy). It’s this idea that we are all givers and receivers. It’s sort of like when you pay for the person behind you in the Starbucks drive-thru because the person in front of you paid for your iced caramel latte. You were in need (that latte doesn’t pay for itself!), but received a gift (thanks, car in front of you!). Then you turned around and let it impact someone else too. That’s the idea. And that’s what we’re all about here. Many of us have received abundantly, and we want to encourage people to turn around and give that joy of blessing to another. motaj isn’t just for us and our donors, though. MOTAJ is woven all throughout Valentine’s story, and it all began with a need she had.

Valentine’s dad had two wives. Her stepmom had nine kids, and Valentine was the fifth out of seven kids from her own mom. To take care of her kids, Valentine’s mom earned income as a small-scale farmer. But Valentine’s dad became sick… so sick that he was bedridden. This changed the way the whole family of 19 functioned. Her mom devoted all her time to caring for her dad. All the money her mom earned plus the money her older siblings were earning went to pay the hospital bills for her dad. This went on for four years—the frenzied unknown of her dad’s condition, the time and commitment of her mom to caring for her dad, the depletion of all their finances for hospital bills—until her dad passed away. During this time, her stepmom also passed away, which left all 16 kids under the care of her mom. This in itself was an incredible task to take on by herself, and it was even more so after she had just spent the last four years caring for her husband. She developed some of her own health complications, and just couldn’t work like she used to.

This left Valentine in a tough spot… she was on the verge of dropping out of school. She couldn’t pay her school fees or any supplies. She didn’t want to drop out, so she went to seek help from Nasha, our partner organization. She let them know her situation, and Nasha worked diligently to find a way for Valentine to get a scholarship to continue going to school. We were able to partner with Nasha to provide that scholarship for her!

Valentine continued pursuing her education through the help of the scholarship and graduated last year!

But completing college and graduating wasn’t the only impact of the scholarship for Valentine. As a scholarship recipient, she had the opportunity to attend the summer camp we host with Nasha every year in Kenya. The small group discussions were impactful for her. They dove deep into conversation and her leaders helped her learn how to apply the teachings to her life, beyond just hearing them. Then, Valentine got to turn around and be a camp counselor three times over the years. She especially cherished leading a group, as it encouraged her to dig deep into the Bible on her own to develop her own understanding, so she could lead the girls in her group well. She says all of these camp experiences have really been influential in her faith and leadership skill development, and she is so thankful for the ways it has helped her learn that God is a God who she can hope and trust in.

Now, with everything she has learned and experienced at camp, and with having completed school, she hopes to give back to those in need as she possibly continues her education and gets a job, continuing to trust God in it all.

And this… this is motaj. Valentine had a need for a scholarship, and she received it. She was given the ability to go to school and to learn at camp. Now, she has gotten to turn around and help other girls at camp as a counselor, being a role model for them in the same way that she had looked up to her leaders. She found joy in the receiving AND in the giving back!

To impact more students like Valentine, donate to our College Scholarships Project today!