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It's too hard to make a difference, right?

"At 15, I ran away from home after all of my siblings died from chickenpox and my mother committed suicide. Life was unbearable. I tried to support myself as a housemaid but was unable. Feeling left with no choice, I went with someone, who was a sex worker, to a club where I was put up for auction, and the highest bidder raped me. That was the moment I became trapped in the sex industry. When I heard about Women at Risk, I immediately joined the program."  Fekerete's tragic story is, disturbingly, a common one in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – one in nine women here are in the sex industry due to a lack of economic opportunity. These women are sisters, mothers, and often young girls, forced to make a difficult decision simply for the survival of themselves and their families. It takes courage to make such a decision. It also takes courage to make the decision to leave this life and enter rehabilitation programs like Women at Risk.

How can we, an ocean away, help? After hearing this story last summer, Blair, an African Leadership supporter, wondered just that. How can she stand beside the brave women who choose to begin the process of holistic rehabilitation? Such bravery struck a chord with Blair, who had always wanted a pixie haircut but lacked the motivation and commitment to go through with it. So she made a decision: if she could raise $1,200 in one month to support Women at Risk, she’d follow through with the drastic haircut. She called it her “Pixie Project.” One month later, Blair had raised double the amount of her goal and was sitting in a hair salon making good on her promise.

Purpose Projects, like Blair’s Pixie Project, provide a way for us to make a personal connection and be involved, from helping women rediscover their dignity through a new identity in Christ to supporting education fees for orphans. They are also a way for us to find some common ground, challenging our communities to raise funds for something we care about by committing to do something ourselves when the goal is reached – something we’ve always wanted to do but felt fearful, hesitant, or in need of a little push to get started. We’ve seen someone commit to dye their hair pink if they raised enough money to support four women at Women at Risk, someone commit to get a large tattoo if they raised enough money to support four orphans, and a group commit to living on $1.50 a day, the poverty line, for a week if they raised enough money to support the education of four students. While Purpose Projects empower individuals in the States to take a step towards things they’ve always wanted to do, it similarly empowers Africans like Fekerete to begin living the life they always wanted. For Fekerete, that includes opening her own small restaurant, a longtime goal she previously never had a way to put into motion.

"I am so excited to graduate from the Women at Risk program and food preparation training. My dream is to open my own cafe. My son has been so happy during his time in the program, and he is in much better health. God willing, he will begin a new nursery class after I graduate.  I give thanks to God for blessing me and giving me new vision for my own cafe."

 To put a purpose behind your goal, check out for ideas, support, and more information on getting started.

It always sounds crazy in the beginning

Dying your hair a vibrant and undeniable shade of pink. Voluntarily living below the poverty line for a week. Running 13.1 miles despite having no history in long distance running. Seeing a paralytic stand up and walk with natural and effortless use of his legs.

If I told you that these were the endings to four different stories, you’d think those must be some pretty crazy stories. But that’s the thing: it always sounds crazy in the beginning.


When Jesus entered Capernaum, crowds filled any and all available space for the chance to hear him preach. Among those in the crowd vying for a spot in Jesus’ presence was a paralyzed man who had come to be healed. Four other men had carried him there on a mat.

Can you imagine the conversation that could’ve happened between those five men when they decided to brave the crowds to see Jesus? When they decided to carry a man incapable of walking there on his own with the belief that he could be walking home without their help? It must’ve sounded crazy in the beginning, but we know how the story ends. The four men cut a hole in the roof, lower their friend down to Jesus, and in front of skeptics and believers alike, Jesus forgives the man’s sins and ends his paralysis. Crazy belief – great reward.


Mocha Club, the Community Development arm of African Leadership, launched a campaign called Purpose Project late last summer. Purpose Project takes seemingly crazy ideas, adds a larger purpose, and gives individuals the little push they need to see their ideas come to life.

Brittany always wanted bright pink hair, but was hesitant to make such a drastic change until she found out about the Women at Risk program in Ethiopia. Empowered by the belief that she could make a difference in the lives of these women, she set a goal to raise $1200 and pledged to buy the dye and make the change if her goal was met. $2800 later, her belief was rewarded, her hair is pink, and she has a bold new way to tell people about her heart for Africa and Women at Risk.

A group of university students wanted to live a week under the poverty line, pledged to do so if they raised $2400, and then watched as their crazy idea brought awareness to education projects in Kenya. A mother in Illinois wanted to face the challenge of running a half marathon, pledged to do so if she raised $1000, and will now be running 13.1 miles in September while bringing clean water, a runner’s best friend, to communities in Africa.


The end result when belief is coupled with courage is tremendous, even if it seems absolutely crazy in the beginning. What are you willing to be bold for? What have you always wanted to do but just needed a little extra motivation? Visit to put a purpose to your crazy idea. The reward you stand to gain is too great to pass up.