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History of House of Hope

As told by founder, April Havlin

In 2000, my husband and I moved to Managua, Nicaragua as missionaries. We had previously served for 18 years in South America, but this was our first country in Central America. 

I began to sense the tremendous need among the women to talk about different types of abuse that they had experienced. Things that were not usually talked about in church. I began visiting churches, conferences, and other events, speaking to women and girls about sexual abuse. As a result of that, I was invited to come and speak at a quarterly outreach to street women in a local Managua church. After that, my life began to take a radical change. Partnering with that church, I began to raise money to have these quarterly events monthly. I began to volunteer full-time with the street women, and soon discovered some very young girls who are being trafficked. 

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Fully recognizing that some of the women would not be able to go through a transformation process in the toxic environment that they were living in, I began to search for land to purchase for a House of Hope residential center. In 2003, we purchased 5 acres of land in a semi-rural area outside of the city. In 2004, we began to build many homes, duplexes, and other buildings at House of Hope using mission team funds and labor.

Simultaneously, in 2004, I began a weekly discipleship group meeting in the church. The first day we had two women, and by the end of the year, we had a dozen women coming regularly. Very soon we began the vocational component of our program—painting beads and making greeting cards. This provides the women with skills and a small income. The following year we doubled to 25 women by the end of the year. 

In 2004, we began a micro grant program for qualified women. For a $75 one-time grant, they would start their own tiny businesses and begin living in a dignified way.

In 2005, we began our school uniform distribution and a scholarship program for the children of the women. Many of the children had not previously been attending school because their moms could not afford the required uniform. 

In May of 2006, we began meeting each week at the House of Hope property on Tuesday mornings. By the end of the year, we had 80 women coming regularly and the change in many of their lives was amazing. Women and their teenage daughters were coming out of the brothels and beginning to start new lives!

In January of 2007, we opened our residential program for women and their children. It is a four-year intensive discipleship program. The woman would move to the House of Hope from the brothels, and after four years, we would see tremendous change. Upon graduation from the residential center, House of Hope provides them with a small rustic house and a micro business.

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