the beauty of empowerment

A Very Neela Christmas

Isabell Bernal

It's crazy that the holidays are almost over! For me it looked like running around on errands, shopping, cooking, eating and spending a lot of time with my family. And for the women we empower in South Africa it looked the same!

The sad truth is that for a lot of people living in underdeveloped communities, Christmas looks like any other day.  But not for these empowered women at Neela.  Because of your support, they were able to celebrate Christmas and make the holiday magical for their kids.  Neela means "gift" and by giving these women the gift of empowerment they were able to pass the blessing along to their families on Christmas.


Did anyone else go on any road trips to visit family this holiday season? Sonto did! She took her two children to visit her extended family out in the rural village she comes from.  Because of your support, Sonto was able to spend Christmas with her entire family. 


Who baked cookies? Nabuhle baked bread, fresh chicken (yes, that she bought and killed herself), and vegetables for her family.  Nabuhle lives with her two children and all her in-laws.  Nabuhle is an amazing cook.

 She always brought great lunches to work at neela.  I remember her saying "eat Bella" every day as she pulled her Tupperware out of her purse at work, always encouraging me to take the first bite.  After I tried some, Nabuhle's eyes would widen and her smile grows "nice, yes" she asks with a thumbs-up. 


Little kids are hands down the easiest and most fun to shop for.  Mathapelo and Naledi (children pictured above) each took turns babysitting for one another, while going to the shops to buy presents.  The gifts included, tee shirts, pants, shoes, a soccer ball, and a tricycle. 

Until this year, Christmas has looked the exact same for each of these families, filled with the same challenges as every other day.  But not this year! The cycle of poverty is finally being broken and these precious families got to experience their first joyous Christmas!