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This is Juventina.
We met Juventina in 2016 in Honduras when she enrolled in the seventh grade at the Lazarus Academy Vocational High School, a program of our sister organization, Mission Lazarus. Through this program Juventina graduated from high school and also learned how to sew. Her sewing skills were easily transferred from cloth to leather, and she began working in the Lazarus Artisan Goods production shop in 2019.
Juventina’s home life, as shocking as it sounds, is not that uncommon in the rural regions of Honduras. She grew up in a small home with 20 other family members, three of which are her siblings. This hard-working family has always struggled to get ahead as subsistence farmers, basically surviving on what they have been able to produce. Juventina’s sustainable employment quickly became a blessing to the entire family. Her income was able to guarantee that there was enough food for everyone.
In 2020 Juventina saw the fruition of a lifelong dream. After saving money for over a year, she was able to build her own house. She’s very proud of this accomplishment saying, “It isn't a big house, but for me it’s my mansion. It represents goals I’ve achieved, sacrifices made, and the support of all who love me.”
Juventina has plans to enroll in college next year. This is a lofty goal that will see her defying the odds that are stacked against young women from impoverished communities in Honduras. However, based on her track record and the strong work ethic that she’s developed working for Lazarus Artisan Goods, we like her odds of success!
As proud as we are of seeing all that Juventina has accomplished, it brings a big smile to our faces when we hear her give credit to our leather shop for giving her an opportunity to know Christ. We do not require anyone working for us to accept a particular belief system, but we are intentional in communicating why we operate our business the way we do. The culture that we’ve established is one of inclusion that offers our employees an opportunity to ask questions.
Juventina’s story is inspirational, like many we’ve been blessed to witness since Lazarus Artisan Goods began in 2009 as an idea to use a business endeavor providing sustainable employment as a tool to transform lives, now and for eternity. And now, over 10 years in, we’re seeing this happen.
This is what your purchase of our leather products does. When you choose to be intentional with where you spend your money, the impact goes farther than you can imagine. Thank you for the investment that you’ve made in the life of Juventina and many others just like her.
To learn more about Juventina's story, watch her video.