Mama of the Month: Leonor

Our community recently funded a grant for Free The Girls, an organization that supports women who have been rescued from trafficking. Their goal is for the women in their program to experience TRUE FREEDOM both through safe economic opportunities and holistic reintegration into the community. Our grant will help eight women receive what they need to build homes, buy land, or attend university through The Inheritance Project.

Leonor on the right with a program participant

Leonor on the right with a program participant

What does that look like in practice? Our newest Mama of the Month is at the forefront of empowering women in Mozambique. Every great program has, at its core, a passionate person. Leonor is that person for Free The Girls. After her husband left her and her daughter, Leonor had the resolve to change her life and the lives of her family members. She says,

“I returned to school years after I had abandoned my studies, and I went to Bible school as well. Now I am a leader in my church, teaching and preaching during the service and in Sunday School. It was hard when I first went back to school. There were times during the week when I wasn’t able to see my daughter. I would get home after she went to bed, and I would leave before she woke up in the morning. I depended on my sister to help me to be a parent to her. It was a sacrifice. However, now I am able to help my sister and her son return to school and I am able to provide for our whole household.”

As the Country Director for Free The Girls, Leonor is instrumental in helping women work through the program.

“Before working for FTG, I met some of the women who would be in the program. I saw how much they had suffered and I wanted to help. I love working with the women—helping them to have dignity and justice and to be whole again.”

Leonor oversees the program, caring for the women, helping them set up their businesses and save money, and training them in business practices and personal finance. To better help the women in her program, Leonor has returned to college to study psychology. The women she works with need significant help, and her studies will equip her to help them more deeply. Many of the women are difficult to work with and have negative attitudes. Leonor says,

“Although life on the streets is hard, many choose to go back. It is so difficult when a woman will not change—when a woman returns to the streets. When she chooses drugs and/or alcohol instead of freedom, it breaks my heart. Studying psychology has helped me to see patterns and to persevere with many of the women who struggle. ”

For the women who stay in the program, Leonor provides inspiration, and the effort is worth it.

“Since I enrolled in university. The women in the program respect me for my choice and are inspired by my example. When I see a life change, it makes all the difference. I love to see when a woman is able to help not only herself and her children, but to help her entire family. I love to see a woman’s business flourish.
We are about freedom. We want women to be free. We want them to be free to own a business. We want them to be free to return to school. We want their family to be free.”
Leonor with her daughter, sister, and nephew

Leonor with her daughter, sister, and nephew

Our model promotes true development, and the work Leonor does at Free The Girls is not a band-aid for the problems our friends in Mozambique are facing—this is ideas turned into action and finding real, tangible solutions that will empower the entire community.

What an honor it is that we get to be a part of the healing through our gifts. Our board of directors searches for projects where our little bits of good create lasting impact around the world. We would love for you to join us in making this possible.