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Use what's in your hands

Two women, thousands of miles apart, are using their talents to make a difference. Could you join them?

Written by Agnes McGrane | 23 Apr 2021

Credit: Quino Al/Unsplash

Cecilia has always enjoyed making things with clay. At 69 years old, she has decades of experience making pots and stoves for her own home in Mozambique. But it was only recently she realised that her passion for pottery could bring in a regular income for her family.

Cecilia attended a community group at her church, run by Tearfund’s local partner organisation, where they discussed how to make money by using readily available resources. That’s when she discovered she was already making a product that others wanted to buy.

‘I spent a lot of time going to church empty-handed, not knowing that I could make money through my work,’ says Cecilia. Cecilia started making kitchen utensils to sell to her neighbours, and soon sold out. Now, she and her daughter regularly make a range of products to sell in their local community.

Small business, big changes

Cecilia’s small business has transformed her life and is helping to lift her and her family out of poverty. Her clay products are growing in popularity, and she’s expanding her business and even starting to teach others how to work with clay.

‘I can contribute to the development of my local church… I manage to buy clothes for me and my grandchildren, including the purchase of school supplies for the grandchildren,’ says Cecilia. ‘The difficulties I face now are less than those I was facing before.’

A creative way to make a difference

Meanwhile, thousands of miles away, Tearfund supporter Melanie has also been putting her artistic talents to good use.

Melanie always enjoyed painting and drawing and she wanted to use her skills to raise money for a good cause. This sparked the idea to start a small business selling handmade cards and donate some of the profits to Tearfund.

‘In many parts of the world people have dirty water to drink causing illness, are starving, live in war zones or with the drastic effects of climate change. This is my small way to do something about this,’ says Melanie.

‘It’s also a way of outreach for me. The fact that I’m doing this for good has given me confidence. I’m selling the fact that the money is going to charity and to help people. It gives me courage that perhaps I wouldn’t have otherwise.’

Melanie’s business is called ‘Aquahen’. The ‘aqua’ represents the clean water that she believes all people deserve, and the ‘hen’ represents those who are working hard to lift themselves out of poverty.

Go for it

Melanie started off small, selling a few cards to family and friends. She never could have envisioned that she’d be able to sell thousands of cards.

‘I wasn’t brave at the beginning. I didn’t think I’d sell any cards and it was surprising when I sold one or two, I was shocked every time,’ says Melanie. She has now sold over 5,000 of her cards, and raised more than £1,500 for Tearfund – an amazing achievement! Every card she sells is helping people like Cecilia receive the support they need to start lifting themselves out of poverty.

Melanie’s advice for anyone questioning if their talent or passion can make a difference is simple: ‘Be brave and go for it… And pray! Ask God to direct you in what you’re doing. Start small and persist. Just try something, unless you try something, it won’t happen.’

Inspired by Melanie and Cecilia? You can also use what you have in your hands to make a difference to those living in poverty.

Find out more

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Written by  Agnes McGrane

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