A Story from Nigeria

Reach a mother and you have reached an entire family

Meet Hope Umune.

“Reach a man, and you have reached an individual,” says Hope Umune, “Reach a mother, and you have reached an entire family.”

Hope is the wife of TETMI leader David Umune and she has a heart for the women of Nigeria. Four years ago, Hope hosted TETMI’s first women’s conference. By the next year, she realised the need to introduce practical issues along with the Word of God.

One area she realised there was a disconnect with, was health.

“The women in the village, they attribute sickness to the gods. So if you are sick it is because you offended the gods.” Hope Umune asked a nurse to come and talk about women’s health issues and answer questions. One question that was asked was, “is it true that when you are 12 years old if you are not married you will fall sick for a lifetime?” This mentality is the reason why many send their girls to get married at a young age or sometimes even sell their daughters. The nurse explained, “No. To not be with a man at that young of an age is the best thing to do. In fact, when you are exposed to men, that is when your chances to get diseases increase. It is better to be with just the man you marry” The women went back to their homes and told their daughters, “You will not die if you do not get married at 12. These are all lies!” Through simple education, dangerous cultural practices are coming to an end.

Because of the high poverty level, some families make bad choices to bring money into the family. So, Hope brought someone in to teach the women how to make snacks like donuts and bread to sell. She was also able to get $200 loans for 25 women. “They are becoming profitable and some are starting to pay that back. One woman opened a small grocery store. Another woman learned how to make liquid soap from one of the conferences and has made a business of it. They are learning there are other ways to bring in money for their family,” Hope explains.

The conference is about 4 days long and continues to grow year by year in popularity. Since there are a lot of costs that go along with it and a lack of funding, TETMI decided to do the conference every two years. But the women said “no way! It must be every year!” Hope explains, “It is so nice for them to learn new things and it is a way for them to wind down. When it is done, the women say, ‘Must it end today?’”

This year the women’s conference will be happening the second week of August. Two hundred women are expected to attend. Last month’s support from Partners Passport is helping to make this happen!

Please pray for Hope and the women at the conference – that they will be blessed and God would touch the hearts of those in attendance.

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