They’re beautiful. They inspire us. Who are they?
Celestine – Meet a woman who is a fierce example of what the love of a mother can do. When Celestine’s son was young, he wasn’t able to walk and play like a healthy little boy. Her community wasn’t exactly helpful either. Celestine remembers, “People used to come and tell me I drank something and that’s why the child is like this.” But instead of feeling helpless, she carried him everywhere she went, even when she went out into the fields to work. Celestine’s son was finally able to receive surgery at the age of five through World Vision support, and now this happy little boy runs and plays. She is very thankful to God. Celestine’s determination to never give up on her child inspired her community and will continue to inspire others around the world.
Silvana – One woman that brought a smile to my face was Silvana. Silvana works as a World Vision child sponsorship coordinator in Colomi, which is located close to the city of Cochabamba, Bolivia. She had the kind of smile that can light up a room and brighten someone’s day. Although Silvana might see gloomy conditions that some communities live in (such as children that live in an abusive household), she never would let go of her joy. Her glowing personality really uplifted my day, and it was a pleasure to get to know her.
Victoria – Victoria was once a sponsored World Vision child, but now the 20-year-old woman shows what it means to give back to others. Victoria is still in school herself, but she spends three days each week being a preschool teacher. It was a surprise to discover how much time this busy woman devotes to the children! We were lucky enough to visit her preschool class. As we watched her teach we could tell that she is patient and wonderful at her job. The little ones adore her, and I know that she will continue to make such a positive different in the lives of these children.
Aide – Those who weren’t born with a green thumb (like me!) can learn a lot from this avid farmer and mother, Aide. On her small plot of land this woman has been able to revolutionize the way she feeds her family. World Vision programs, like nutrition-based programs, help parents know which healthy foods will be best for their children. Before the nutrition program, Aide was feeding her children toasted corn and didn’t have a large variety of foods available. But now with her land, garden, and livestock, three generations of this family live on fresh fruits, vegetables, beans, meat, and more. They grow enough beans and carrots to take to the market (which gives them an income). Aide will use that money to buy milk, and they will make cheese in the process. Now it’s easy to see the benefits of this new healthy, diverse diet by watching her kids: her daughter Gabriela was recently the top student in her first grade class. Three cheers for Aide and her hard work to feed her family! With hope, Aide can inspire others to keep nutritious food an important priority.
Arminda – You’d never guess Arminda had a difficult past when you saw how much she smiled. This 6 year-old was left to fend for herself on the streets as a very young child. Soon Elena, a woman who lived nearby, found Arminda on the streets and immediately took Arminda home. Arminda was cleaned up and given food to eat. Elena loved this little girl and she said to us that, “the girl was suffering too much” and that she, “wanted to protect her.” Elena and her husband officially adopted her (even when they had four children of their own). Arminda now giggles and her bubbly personality is infectious. This little girl doesn’t allow her past to affect her present life. I left meeting Arminda with a big smile on my own face.
Check out the story of Arminda’s mother and other inspiring woman on my friend Rachel Held Evans’ blog “Six Bolivian Women of Valor.”
All photos copyright Amy Conner with World Vision.