A couple years ago, Operation Mercy held a country-wide conference to train and equip local community-based rehabilitation staff. Our three local Isfara staff attended this – the first time they had gone to anything like it. One coworker, Nodira, returned sharing how she felt her world-view had been significantly impacted. By talking with many people doing work like hers, she had gained a fresh perspective and enlarged her understanding of our work’s possibilities.
The next thing she shared pleasantly surprised us: “Other projects have their own names, we need a name for our group too.” She talked with the other mothers and they decided it had to be something with hope in the name. And so, she had her son paint a poster with a slogan they came up with: “hope is the light in our hearts” and another with the name they’d decided on: ‘Project Hope.’
While coming up with a name like this may appear to be a small thing, her initiative here was incredibly encouraging. One of our biggest frustrations is when local coworkers constantly ask if they can have permission to do something small or don’t voice their opinions on the work they’ve been doing. They are so used to being powerless that they find it hard to believe their ideas could have merit and so lack the confidence needed to express them. Nodira coming up with this idea without our prompting and then carrying it out on her own demonstrated a real change and proved our project to be an environment where the mothers feel respected and loved.
The name choice is even more apt. So many women with disabled children in this community are quite hopeless: they are not accepted by their neighbours or family and they have often received the wrong medication and poor rehabilitation advice. The name demonstrates that for Nodira at least, our group had met her need for healthy community as well as caring for her physical health. This small community was providing a place where she could have hope.