From Struggle to Success
Each year, HOPE celebrates a client who demonstrates HOPE’s values of perseverance, compassion, character, and creativity with the Thurman Award. Established in honor of HOPE’s first CEO and his wife, the Thurman celebrates clients who have not only experienced change in their own lives but have also extended that transformation to others in their community. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be posting the stories of this year’s winner and four honorable mentions to the blog. Today we celebrate Mardy Cabalo from the Philippines, our 2013 Thurman Award winner. When Mardy Conde Cabalo of the Philippines awakens each morning, she steps immediately into her roles of mother, business manager, and community leader. Left motherless at age 12, Mardy says she became “both father and mother” to her two siblings, taking on any odd jobs she could find to support them. When she later married and had four daughters of her own, Mardy employed this same hard work and determination, selling cosmetics, clothing, and shoes when her husband’s income wasn’t enough. But even with two salaries, Mardy despaired of sending her daughters to college. In 2005, a friend invited Mardy to a Bible study with CCT, HOPE’s local partner. There she heard of CCT’s small business loans and quickly realized their potential to grow her business. Today, her profits have helped her three oldest children attend college, and her youngest is college-bound. In addition, Mardy has purchased a computer and a motorcycle; made a payment on a piece of farmland; and attended to the daily needs, not only of her family members, but of the larger community as well. A blessing to others Knowing the joy of providing for her family, Mardy wants to help others do the same: “I prayed, asking the Lord for wisdom that through this business I would be able to help others earn a living for themselves.” She participated in CCT’s leadership development training and currently volunteers with its community development program. In this role, Mardy helps coordinate dental and medical missions and skills-training workshops, helping women start their own business by teaching them how to make putopao (a savory rice cake) and dishwashing liquid, and how to debone milkfish. Mardy also supports members of her extended family when they move into the city in search of greater opportunity, helping pay for housing, education, and medical emergencies as they look for jobs and become established. Ever community-minded, Mardy plans to meet village leaders to discuss how CCT can provide volunteer health assistance at local government clinics. A faith that flourishes Through her relationship with CCT, Mardy’s faith has flourished. She is active in her church, and she ministers through Bible studies, prayer, counseling, and hospital visits. Because of her witness, over 25 families have come to know the Lord. Her faithfulness is a shining example, inspiring others to minister as well. Mardy dreams of one day owning her own shoe-making business so she can provide jobs to community members. Motivated by her desire to serve the Lord by serving others, she is moved by a vision in line with HOPE’s own—to see her neighborhood thrive with financially independent individuals, capable of supporting their families and transforming their communities.
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