She (pictured in the pink shirt with her sisters) and her sisters had lost their father in 2008 and then their mother to complications from diabetes in 2012. Since her mother's passing, Irene had been taking care of the household and her sisters. She was only 17. Our hearts broke for her. The family was receiving some assistance for her younger sisters from The James 1:27 Project, but the look in her eyes told the story of a young woman who was lost. She had dreams but no solid way to pursue them. We recognized that, as a single young woman, she was at a far greater risk for poverty, health problems and violence than if her parents were still alive to care for and guide her. We knew that God had our next mission for us.
We have a heart for supporting people or projects that will have a ripple effect for good in their community. Irene certainly met that criteria. She had deep ties to the community with her younger sisters there and she had a goal of becoming a teacher so that she could return and bring the blessing of education to the children in her area.
Through profits from The Orange Bird Shop, we were able to help get her in college and on her way to a four year education degree!! We cannot wait to see what God does through her heart to come back and improve the lives of children and families in her community! What a blessing to be able to be a part of God's work in Irene's life and the future students in her classroom!
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11