Milestones. Places along the way that mark something of significance. The Lord is big on these. Real ones. Piles of stones at significant places that would make people ask questions – and remember.
Women of Hope has had a significant set of milestones in the past month or so. It was October 2009, 7 years ago, that 7 women set out for Sierra Leone on a fact-finding assessment mission, hoping to learn more about the needs of women affected by disability and how Women of Hope could come alongside them. It was an eventful trip, more devastating than any of us had anticipated. It wrecked us, and left us wondering how in the world we could make a difference to so great a need. Seven years have passed, and we are humbled at what the Lord has done – in the lives of women in Sierra Leone, in ministries around the world that want to be more inclusive of people with disabilities, and in our own lives. We were not, and are not, capable of the magnitude of this task, but He has proven Himself able and strong.
Marking this 7-year milestone – a number associated with completion in the Scriptures – was the dedication of the HOPE Centre on October 14, 2016. The HOPE Centre is a facility dedicated to the development of women affected by disability. It houses the Women of Hope Sierra Leone office, a cooperative workshop for the economic empowerment of the women, and a conference hall for trainings, workshops and social gatherings for the women and other community members.
The HOPE Centre is an acronym:
H ealing Wounds
O vercoming Obstacles
P romoting Potential
E quipping for Change
These are goals that we have for the women we serve and walk alongside. The women with disabilities in Sierra Leone have never before had a place to call their own. Most of them don’t even have a permanent home. This facility is more than a set of buildings for them; it is a place of belonging and community.
Our dream for the women we serve is that they would themselves be “living stones” – rejected by men, but chosen and precious in the sight of God, being built up as a spiritual house through Christ. (I Peter 2:4-5)
This has been an amazing journey of building and becoming living stones. There is room for more. We invite you to join us and participate in the transformational process of women affected by disability. A word of caution – you will be utterly changed!
Written By Kim Kargbo, President and CEO of Women of Hope International