Irini was a successful interior designer for more than a decade but, since losing her job, she was trying to make ends meet as a part-time secretary. She was struggling to provide for her two small children.
Maria was a fashion designer and consultant but found herself suddenly unemployed and needed a way to advertise her skills in order to generate an income.
Eleni had many chronic health issues and was trying to support herself by cooking, but she didn’t have the kitchen appliances she needed to run a catering business.
Thankfully, Send Relief partners at The Lydia Initiative were nearby and ready to help.
Leaders at The Lydia Initiative were able to provide Irini with the upgraded equipment she needed to explore new job opportunities.
Maria was set up with her own business website to sell luxury leather bags, purses and belts. She shared, “I was a successful businesswoman, blind to others in need, but God got my attention! Lydia gave me a way to share my knowledge and experience.”
Eleni was given an industrial freezer to help keep her food fresh and told a Send Relief partner, “Lydia helped in connecting me with others for my work and cooking.”
And that is the main tenet of The Lydia Initiative—empowering women to empower others.
Started in Greece in 2018, the movement was envisioned by two friends, Grace and Nopi. The movement began with four main goals in mind: to inspire women who have lost everything, to help them heal, to teach them practical and vocational skills and to empower them to support themselves. These goals are all being accomplished through the creation of new community through knitting classes, exercise groups and other small activity-based groups who are given the space to feel safe and flourish with other women.
“We have been living under difficult circumstances in Greece, and women are most susceptible to these circumstances,” Nopi commented on the need for this kind of community. “This ministry is about people with stories and struggles. Sometimes it’s not so much what you do or give, but the relationships you develop. Watching [these women] become motivated and full of hope fills my heart with joy but, most importantly, what I have noticed is that the most important factor was having someone that really cares.”
After establishing their own micro-business and becoming self-sufficient, many women put 10% of their profits back into the movement to help other entrepreneurial women get their businesses off the ground. Grace shared, “When women [in need] discover that women just like them [are giving back], they are very touched. It’s a huge blessing when people realize they can pay it forward and empower other women.”
It only takes one woman to start the domino effect of empowerment. As Grace put it, “Each woman can be a Lydia in her own home and community.”
Pray for ambassadors for women in need and for more “friends of Lydia” to join in partnering with families living in poverty.
To help more vulnerable women, give today.
Published January 28, 2021