Each year, HOPE celebrates clients who demonstrate our values of perseverance, compassion, character, and creativity by announcing the Thurman Award winner. Established in honor of HOPE’s first CEO, the Thurman Award celebrates clients who have not only experienced change in their own lives but have also extended that transformation to others in their community. We’re excited to share the story of Eckness, this year’s winner of savings group programs!
When Eckness was a teenager, her family could no longer afford to send her to school—a problem many Malawian families face. And like many Malawian youth in her situation, Eckness dropped out of school and got married.
As Eckness and her husband worked to provide for their three children, they struggled to get by. “I was not even able to make offerings at church,” Eckness remembers now. “I kept praying before God to find a way to make a living.”
When Eckness heard about savings groups facilitated through a church in her community, she says, “My heart was comforted. I realized there was still a future—a way.”
Using loans from her savings group, Eckness obtained her high school degree, a college degree in early childhood development, and a certificate in business management. After finishing her own education, Eckness was able to turn her attention to a need that had always disturbed her: the lack of affordable daycare options in her community.
With deep compassion for her students, Eckness gives grace for those who struggle to pay their school fees. Many of her students come from Muslim families, and Eckness is eager to share her faith with them.
“I have confidence in my abilities to make things happen because I depend on God,” Eckness says. “Now, when I want to pursue something, I know it is possible.”
Around the HOPE network, clients are growing closer to Christ, saving their own money, and employing their God-given skills to care for their family. Learn more about how HOPE equips families to flourish.