Rosa is an elder in the village of Motel Bispo. Before Esperança started work in the village, the title of elder held little meaning for her. She lived in a poorly-constructed mud hut, which made her health issues worse. Her grown son lived with her, and he was usually her only company. On the rare occasions he found work, she spent the day alone and lonely. They lived on less than the average of $440 per person per year.
The day our CEO and Program Director visited the village and met Rosa was a special one. Hundreds of men, women and children, dressed in colorful African textiles, had gathered for a community-wide celebration of the changes the village had made for the better. Many families sang and danced as they waited to be recognized. Since 2003, Esperança has worked with local partners to seek out the poorest villages in the area and assist families to set goals that will transform their lives and their community. The work lasts three years, and families are rewarded every six months for accomplishing their goals at a celebration like the one held that day.
Rosa proudly showed off her new home. Her son had constructed it himself, and he gained numerous construction skills in the process. He now has regular work as a builder and is building his own home in his spare time. The process of educating the community about hand-washing, sanitation, sleeping under a mosquito net and other basic health matters brought the community together. She now has regular visitors who seek her advice and wisdom. With more interaction, she and the other elders noticed a young orphan who was left alone all day without food, drink or company while his only remaining relative went off to work. Rosa has gained so much – a new home, a healthier life, and a tight-knit community.