Impact Worldwide | 18 June 2024

How your support empowers persecuted women to stand for Jesus


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Sitting on a gray couch with a focused frown, Ani* (pictured above) counts the stitches under her breath as she pulls the needle through the white cloth. She is working on an embroidered piece she will display and hopefully sell. 

Where Ani lives in Aleppo, Syria, many families need a second income to survive. A decade of civil war has weakened Syria’s already struggling economy. So when Open Doors’ partner organization offered Ani a small business loan to start her income-generating project, the 39-year-old wife and mother of two used the funds and her skills to start a business. It’s been six months since she began.
“Simultaneously I’m working to earn our living, and I have the luxury of being in my house helping my family,” she says, smiling. “When my daughters go to school, I focus on my work.”

You may remember hearing about Ani who shared with us how her baby daughter Maria was badly injured when their house was shaken from shelling during the war. Like so many Syrians, the family was struggling to survive and stay in Aleppo.

Sako, Ani’s husband, expresses the pain of any parent unable to give their children a better life and more opportunities. “Life in Syria nowadays is tough,” he says. “The feeling of not being able to provide everything for your kids is torturous.” 

“Whenever I hear about an upcoming gallery (events where people sell their handmade products), I start preparing all the designs and art pieces to sell them there,” she says. “My participation in the last gallery—thank God—was a success, I sold almost everything.”

The family has already been able to set money aside to pay for her daughters’ school fees. A portion of the profits from this latest success will go toward buying their school supplies for the next year.   

Because of your support, Ani’s family and many like hers can now stay in Syria and be the church in their community. With the second income from a small business loan, hundreds of families in Syria now have room to breathe. 

‘I can live well with my daughter’

Ani is just one example of how Open Doors is coming alongside Christian women to help them start small businesses and provide for their families in difficult situations. 

Five thousand miles from Ani in East Africa’s Comoros, Nadia* measures fabric for a dress she’s been hired to make. With the clothes making business she started a few years ago, the 52-year-old mother is able to provide a home for herself and her 23-year-old daughter. A home she desperately needed.
Listen to her story:
Eight years ago, Nadia left Islam to follow Jesus. A friend introduced her to the Bible and shared the gospel. In the Comoros islands, Christians who leave Islam must hide their faith, even from their family. When Nadia’s mother discovered her new faith, she rejected her daughter and kicked her and her daughter out of the house. Despite her family’s efforts to convince her to return to Islam, Nadia has remained steadfast in her faith. 

In 2017, Open Doors partners offered vocational training to persecuted Christians in the area, and Nadia learned to sew and make clothes. Our partners also provided a sewing machine and small business loan to launch her business.

“With the loan, I was able to buy a sewing machine and fabrics,” she says. “With that, I can make traditional suits for women. They buy the fabrics so I can sew for them; sometimes they bring their own fabrics.

“But even so, it is still work, and things are improving. I can live well with my daughter. So I thank the Lord for all He is doing in my life.”

A group venture

In Sudan, a group of 115 women are also thanking God and praising Him for how He has worked through our local partners to provide a way to care for their families. 

They came together to express their gratitude in worship. When our partners offered small business training, they gained practical skills. As a group, they received six sewing machines and 15 pasta-making tools. Plus, a $2,000 micro-loan to start a group business. 
Watch their worship here:
Through your prayers and support, these women are now empowered and equipped to care for their families and contribute to their community. 

Please pray for these sisters and others around the world:

God, we thank You for working through Your Church to provide a way for these women and many like them to provide for their families and stay in their communities, sharing Your Word. We pray that Ani’s, Nadia’s and our Sudanese sisters’ businesses will flourish. We pray for the families of these women and ask You to guide their future. And we pray for Syria, Comoros and Sudan. We pray for peace in these lands and that Your church in these nations would expand through our sisters and brothers who follow You no matter what.  

*Name changed to protect security. 


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