The biggest news of the month is that Vida Plena just celebrated it’s 2-year anniversary! For better or worse, in our 2 years, there have been very few days that seemed like simple, routine, or “normal” days! We’re still either outrageously surprised, completely exhausted and frustrated, or over-joyed and filled to the brim nearly every day! Erin and I have an inside joke about how our adrenal glands (they produce hormones in response to exciting moments) are going to wear out prematurely for having lived and loved here! There’s never a dull moment.
In looking back, we see God’s hand and favor resting steadily on our lives and work here. It’s difficult to measure the impact, but to satisfy those of you like me, here are some things we’ve had the privilege of accomplishing the last couple years at Vida Plena:
- 101 women have completed 19 trade training courses in Sewing, Baking, and Artisan Craft
- 19 Micro-loans and Micro-leases have been provided with 100% repayment
- 25 women have been employed over the two years and produced 11,124 pieces of jewelry
Like many others, achieving the economic and business goals of Vida Plena have been challenged this year. Our local clients in the hotel and excursion industry closed in March and most have yet to reopen. However, despite the challenges this year, we’ve been able to continue providing trade training, adult education, micro-finance, and dignified employment to the women we’ve made a commitment to without ceasing. Their invitation and participation in the programs and employment we offer makes a statement under normal circumstances, but in a community that is currently suffering 80+% unemployment, the way that 2nd Mile Missions and Vida Plena has been able to continue investing in those on the margins communicates that we’re here to stay and are firmly committed to loving them in word and deed for the long term.
We’ve doubled down on the sewing training program and are running two concurrent classes at capacity! Some of the students have now taken several courses and are increasingly confident in their ability to start a small business based in their newly acquired skill. It’s exciting to watch.
Another piece of exciting news is that we had the privilege of inviting two incredible women to join the US-based 2nd Mile Missions team to help support Vida Plena in the area of US marketing, promotion, and sales. Please join us welcoming Beth Johnson and Sara Guillard to the team! If you’ve ordered any jewelry from Vida Plena recently, chances are that they’ve passed through Beth’s capable hands, and if you’ve seen an Instagram post you really liked, it was almost certainly Sara! Both have a strong passion to serve God and others while using their talents in communication, sales, and creativity.