The Life-Changing Machine
How can we help widows without making them dependent?
Back in the 1950s, appliance manufacturers promised that their machines would “Change Your Life!” We’ve since grown skeptical of advertisement hype, but in the remote village of Tongaren, Kenya, the promise is very real for a group of poor widows.
Most African widows barely earn enough to feed themselves and their children. But one day earlier this year a “salesman” named Cleophas Makona, a pastor and trusted Heaven’s Family partner, told the widows of Tongaren about an opportunity provided for them by the Widows & Abandoned Women Fund to receive a machine that could transform their lives—a posho mill. They were familiar with the posho mill in another village, miles away, where they carried their maize (corn) harvests to grind into flour for their staple diet, but never dreamed they could own one in their village—sparing them miles of burdened walking, and paying a portion of their crop to the owner.
Then one day a red “Gospel Mission” truck rolled into the village filled with all kinds of strange machine parts. After unloading the various parts and assembling them inside a building, the Tongaren Posho Mill became a reality.
Cleophas gathered the widows to instruct them in how to operate the machine, as well as teach them how to profitably operate a posho mill business that serves not only their own grinding needs, but those of the entire community. With this business, they could earn enough money to support themselves, and provide for other needs in their families, such as education for their children and basic medical care.
This posho mill (and others like it) exists only because of generous people like you! Our strategy is to help widows and abandoned women—those whom Jesus called the “least of these”—to become self-sufficient and get out from under the darkness of poverty. We also look for projects, like this one, that are beneficial to the community, giving disciples of Jesus an opportunity to love their neighbors by providing a valued service at a fair price.
We are excited about helping widows and abandoned women in many other areas of the world, and look forward to having you with us as we go!
Bruce and Patty Harris
Directors, Widows & Abandoned Women Fund