Last week, the world watched the birth of the independent Republic of South Sudan. While a new nation celebrated their freedom, women in the war-torn country graduated from a program that offers them a second chance at life.

Erika Holtzclaw, our area director for Sudan, e-mailed us the following:

The women in the photos are recent graduates from the Women’s Vocational Training Program. With the funds sent from SIS they were able to purchase sewing machines and chairs which were set up in the  Women’s Training Center.  The women learned side by side how to sew beautiful items such as bedding sets, pillow covers.   They also learned to do beautiful, ornate hand embroidery.   Together they had a bazaar and sold many of their goods, celebrating thier newfound independence.

Because of the secession of South Sudan, the North may impose new laws that force out or make life difficult for women of southern origin. While the future of many of the women remains uncertain, their achievements have given them a sense of worth. Erika writes of their celebration:

The graduation was a triumphant event attended by the husbands and children of these hard-working women.   Everyone was celebrating their achievements, especially thier husbands.  This was wonderful to see how the training really brought the families closer together and lifted up the status of these women in their husband’s eyes.   In an uncertain place like Northern Sudan, the Christ-centered training brought practical hope to their lives and strengthened their ties as a community.

When we hear about nations being born and freedom earned, it is good to remember that they are made up of individual lives, and that God’s love moves from heart to heart, weaving people together.