We were sipping fresh watermelon juice once afternoon to get reprieve from the hot sun, when I heard the rest of Stephen’s story. I knew that he had been trapped in a no-win situation, unable to get a fresh start or find a job that would help bring his family out of poverty, but the “rest of the story” amazed me.
A year ago, when the request came to help Stephen it seemed to be ordinary and exceptional at the same time. Ordinary in the sense that Stephen’s personal story had the common thread of being born into a culture where the government did not operate based on the rule of law and where personal opportunity was limited. Exceptional in that Stephen had taken a step of choosing a different route from his peers and community. Stephen grew up in an orphanage of sorts and was emotionally and physically abused in very awful ways. Even worse, Stephen was never to speak of the abuse at the orphanage. Stephen knew that IF he could start fresh– be self-employed and free from economic dependence on his former oppressors –then he could break free from his cycle of pain and shame.
When word of Stephen’s need reached us, we were able to help him purchase a couple of dairy cows. He began a make-shift milk business, delivering milk to friends and eventually expanding his customer base. Soon his business began to prosper and Stephen had opportunities to have significant conversations with his customers. As the business grew so did his desire to help locate and create business partnerships with other men, who as boys had a similar abusive experience at the orphanage. Stephen’s courage to pursue a new path and not one common to his community or peers brought hope in a very practical way. Today Stephen has established many partnerships and shares from his own business profits to help others take steps out of poverty. A cow can, in fact, help change lives. Through your partnership with mPOWR you are bringing hope and ending poverty.