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2022 Love in Action Stories

When a woman is empowered, the cycle of poverty is often broken—not just for her, but for her family, and for generations to come. Discover how the trajectory of women’s lives have changed when they’ve received support, an education, or job training. See how they’ve held on to their dreams and goals and overcome intense challenges and obstacles.

Linnette’s Story

“I hope my story helps people in my community feel brave, believe in themselves, and be encouraged by my story in a way that will help them work hard to also overcome the difficult situations life may be presenting to them.” ~Linnette

At an early age, an accident robbed Linnette of motor function in one leg. “I did not feel I had anyone in my life to look out for me,” she says. Linnette began participating in Convoy of Hope’s Women’s Empowerment program and learned important skills and values to help her start a business and realize her self-worth. Now, she is the proud owner of a successful pupusa [maize tortilla] stand and an inspiration to her entire community.

Alexa’s Story

When the fruits and vegetables Alexa raised were devoured by bugs, she and her family had to pay high prices to replace the food they lost. Thankfully, her school had both girls’ empowerment groups and Convoy of Hope’s Agriculture program.

Empowered with that knowledge, she learned how to make an organic pesticide. Her crops are thriving, and she’s excelling at her studies. She also tutors classmates and serves as student body president—all because of the security she feels within herself and about where her next meal will come from. “I’ve learned to see myself with love, to respect myself, to see myself with value, and to love myself just the way I am,” says Alexa.

Betelhem’s Story

Thanks in large part to the skills she learned through Convoy of Hope’s training, Betelhem started a laundry business in 2018. Now she’s generating enough income to care for her six children and disabled sister, invest in her company, save, and celebrate more than ever before.

A sign reading “Happy Birthday!” is on display in Betelhem’s home. The decoration was used to celebrate her daughter’s 13th birthday, but its significance stretches far beyond a single day. “It was the first time we’ve been able to celebrate a birthday [as a family],” she says proudly.

Convoy of Hope’s Economic Empowerment projects are helping mothers around the world provide for themselves and their families — affording them increased opportunities to celebrate life’s precious milestones with the dignity everyone deserves.

You Are Not Alone

Someone to walk with us. Someone to fight for us. Isn’t this what we all need?
For over 20 years, Marie Elana Roland has worked alongside people going through economic hardship and homelessness, and it has helped her identify a major gap in the system— a void that needs to be filled. She observed that people often think the solution to homelessness is simply “shelter.” While it’s a vital component, what Marie Elana has found to be just as important is a new path and companionship: someone to walk alongside them, as they look to and move toward their future. She makes sure the people she works with know, “they are not alone anymore.”

Marie Elana founded The Navigation Center (TNC), to help connect the dots. She and her team connect those experiencing homelessness in Charleston with community organizations and services, specific to their individual needs and situation. They act as a team of coaches and cheerleaders helping people navigate a new path forward. For instance, someone who has been trafficked may first need shelter and their basic needs covered, then services specific to trafficking survivors, as well as legal advice to help fight for justice and to prevent such horrors from happening to others.

Over the past year, TNC has seen over 1,400 people come through their doors looking for hope and connection. While TNC serves many veterans and those struggling with addictions, suicidal thoughts, or mental illness, the largest percentage of their clients are women and children.

Marie Elana recalls walking alongside a single mother and her toddler for the past two years, through many highs and lows. TNC helped her find a place to live and a job with childcare nearby, and transportation. The team walked with her as she faced one hardship after another, dealing with sickness and loss, which led to needing to find a new home and stable employment again. They walked with her as she fought and persevered for the independent life she wanted for her and her child.

“It's not easy or light work,” Marie Elana admits, but she is persistent and passionate. What keeps her going are the people—walking with them from beginning to end. She has seen men, women and children find security and a better way. She has seen people find faith and hope, and “this makes all the difference. Without faith, you will never be at peace.”

Marie Elana and her team at The Navigation Center are the hands and feet of Jesus to the world around them. By their actions, they show those they serve that they are not alone and there is a way through their difficulties.

Someone to walk with us.

Someone to fight for us.

Isn’t this what Jesus did for us? He saw our deepest needs and came near. He sees us still and comes near, walks with us, assuring us we are not alone.

How can you help fill the gaps?

Do you have a passion to help those battling mental illness?

Do you have a heart and appreciation for veterans in our community?

Are you a parent who knows what it’s like to need guidance in raising your children?

Do you have a financial blessing to share, to cover expenses for gaps services, such as transportation to a job interview, the purchase of a mattress for newly secured housing, assistance for a first-month’s rent?

There are many ways to offer support in the areas of job readiness, housing, education, financial management, life-skills training, health care, and mental health services.

For more information and opportunities, visit
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