Inspiring women entrepreneurs


Jean Mesidor is a small business owner in Haiti.

Preachers have often observed that entries in one’s checkbook are the best indication of our true values. Today, the role of that checkbook has been replaced by the online transfers you run through your bank account. Still, the point is the same: We spend money on things we care about. They show our priorities.

That’s true at Food for the Hungry. As I’ve traveled to our field operations, I’ve been impressed by the number of women and children who we serve with our programs. We prioritize assistance to the most vulnerable.

In many cultures, women occupy a status lower than men. In addition to domestic roles like family cook, house cleaner and daycare provider, women also take on roles that Westerners assume men might do. They’re farmers. They’re merchants. They’re traders. As I have seen women in these active physical roles, over and again, I’ve asked with some exasperation, “Where are the men?”

But I’ve made my peace with my frustration. I’ve decided I don’t need to know what the men are doing. What matters is that we’re helping the women.

Re-reading the gospels, it seems to me that Jesus’ ministry is ever more remarkable. By our standards, he treated women the same as he treated men. But by the standards of His day, He was a pathmaker, treating them far better than His peers at the time.

International Women’s Day

FH wants to highlight the importance of working among women and is participating in the International Women’s Day movement on March 8.

We’re walking in Phoenix to publicize the needs of women around the world. Come join us on Sunday, March 10.

But FH’s support for women is more than a walk in the park – it’s something we do daily in our programs around the world.

Jean Mesidor's little shop.

Women are the economic engines that make families run around the world. When I visited Haiti last year, over and again, I asked women how I could pray for them. In addition to their concerns for their families, they often would add shyly, “Pray for God to help me with my business.”

I’d ask, “What kind of business do you have?”

Sometimes they’d show me. A booth with vegetables. A table with miscellaneous toiletries.

These women earn cash for their families as entrepreneurs. Simply inspiring.

That’s what we’re doing around the world. Meeting these brave women around the world encourages us to do more. And it helps their children, who surely are the most vulnerable.



About Barry Gardner

Barry Gardner is the Chief Financial Officer at FH. He joined FH in 2010 after a 20 year career as a financial consultant to non-profit organizations. He and his wife Susan live in Phoenix, where Barry enjoys year-round cycling weather.

, , , ,