Judy's Corner: The Power of Integrated Support Networks

Why is an integrated support system crucial to empowering lives? Doesn’t job training and microcredit do that? Both help, but lasting development is not that simple. People need ongoing support from their mentors and community if they are going to thrive.

This is why HOLD designed an ongoing support system. This network lasts far beyond graduation, and provides continuing education to help grow businesses, find resources, and lend a hand when times get rough. HOLD’s graduates form bonds that they can count on for a lifetime.

Our partners at HOLD-DRC are changing lives. HOLD is local to the community, and understands better than anyone that business training and microcredit alone will not guide people through all of their tough times. They understand the obstacles their graduates face.

"Deanna” is an older woman, married to a man with several younger wives.  Her husband cast her aside, and she was left to live on the street. She found HOLD, and became a Culinary Arts student. When she graduated, she got a job at a restaurant – but the owner forced her to quit when she refused his sexual advances.

Because of HOLD’s support network, she was able to obtain a loan that kept her from becoming homeless a second time. In fact, she used that loan to start a catering business of her own! She is also learning to read and write through HOLD’s Literacy Program.

This experience was so powerful, and her life was so transformed that she became a peer educator at HOLD. Now she sells her cakes and specialty food – and in her spare time, she teaches others about health, hope, and how they can have better lives. She has all of this because she is connected to a community through HOLD, which she now calls her family. 

I thank you for helping to make Deanna's opportunities possible. Your support of ACT for Congo goes to people like her through our partnership with HOLD-DRC.  It’s an integrated support system that continues way beyond the “intervention”.

Posted on April 11, 2015 .