Thursday, August 8, 2013

HopeHouse Classes Revamped: Party Favors, Baking & Handcrafts

Dear DHF Family,

This year we have made it our mission to revamp the list of educational trainings offered in the HopeHouse. Our mission has always been to teach our women new skills and ideas to generate income for both themselves and their families. By far crochet and knitting has transformed the face of our village banking project. Approximately, 90% of our women are crocheters and knitters and actively participate in trainings through our community and HopeHouse classes.
In March, I decided to visit all 26 village banks and ask women what they would like to learn beyond our traditional classes. The first request on the list was Information Technology classes. Women were interested in connecting with friends, family, and the wider community through social media and desperately wanted to help their children with homework assignments. As a result, we began a Basic IT workshop. Our first class of ten students will be completing the course in two weeks.
 Second on the list were Event Planning and Party Decorating. For many mothers, buying decorations and catering a birthday or graduation party is really expensive. These past two month we’ve taught our women how to create decorations with balloons and piñatas with cardboard and poster paper. Through our culinary classes, we are teaching students how to make appetizers, chocolate desserts, and dishes for special events.
 Lastly, handcrafts were the third most popular request. Women are learning how to paint and stain jewelry boxes, paper towel holders, tea bag holders, and much more. These items can be sold, used at home, or given as a gift for birthdays and Mother’s Day.
Starting in September, we will commence a pilot Leadership Series. With the help of Psychologist Roger Huaman, we carefully selected 15 women from 10 different village banks to take a three month course in Leadership. In July, each woman participated in an aptitude test to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. I am excited to share with you the results from the monthly trainings.
After adding an assortment of classes to the line-up, both attendance and satisfaction among participants has increased. Next month we hope to offer Tai-chi classes and other courses aimed at teaching our women how to relax and mange stressful situations. Please stay tuned!


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