Gabriela began working in prostitution in Colombia with a group of women as a desperate way to make ends meet. She had little education and few job prospects; her body was her only asset. Prostitution was not the life Gabriela dreamed she would have. It was an empty and degrading existence, sapping away her sense of worth and dignity. When she was engaged with customers, Gabriela felt that God had totally abandoned her. She realized that she was surviving, existing, not living. With every customer she brought into her room, she wondered if he would be her last. Prostitution is extremely dangerous work, with the constant risk of disease, abuse, and mistreatment, or worse. In her darkest moments, Gabriela wondered if anyone would even notice or care if something tragic happened to her; she felt completely worthless, overlooked, and forgotten.

Gabriela heard about the vocational sewing program at Conviventia and how it was developed to help women like her who were trapped in prostitution with no clear way out. Although skeptical, she decided to join the program. At first, Gabriela had major trust issues. All her life, people had tried to take advantage of her; according to her experience, everyone always had an angle and only saw her as something to exploit. Gabriela was suspicious of the love the people at Conviventia seemed to have for her. Surely this was just their way of deceiving her, getting her to open up so they could use her to suit their ends. But, as time went on and no ulterior motives materialized, Gabriela began to realize that these people didn’t want anything from her and truly didn’t want to take advantage of her; they just wanted to shower her with the love of God and come around her as family. Through daily devotions, scripture, and prayer in the vocational sewing program, Gabriela began to know Christ in a real and tangible way and she began to place her trust firmly in His hands.

The discipling Gabriela received aligned with the sewing training to bring total transformation to Gabriela’s life. For the first time, she saw that her life had value and purpose. Sewing allowed her to create something wonderful, beginning with a pattern and pieces of fabric and crafting it into something beautiful and useful. As she worked at the sewing machine, she saw how God was doing the same thing in her life. Her life was in pieces, but God had the pattern and was stitching it back together. The process was at times slow and painful, but she believed that God would be faithful to bring something beautiful out of the brokenness. For the first time, Gabriela felt that she was beginning to live life to the full.

In May, Gabriela will graduate with the skills needed to make a variety of products, including adult and children’s clothing, bags, suitcases, backpacks, and sportswear. She feels confident in her ability to become an entrepreneur, self-sufficient and able to earn a dignified wage. Before, she could not imagine a company ever wanting to employ a prostitute. She felt completely worthless and unwanted. But now, all that has changed. Gabriela doesn’t take her life for granted and counts herself as one of the lucky few to make it out of prostitution and into a fully restored life of purpose and possibility. Gabriela is eager to share all that she has learned about the love and forgiveness of Christ with other women she knows who are still in bondage. This is her prayer:

*Name changed for security

Your generous support helped transform the lives of many ladies like Rosita*. Rosita and her mother were refugees who fled Venezuela due to extreme economic hardships and safety risks. They traveled through Colombia to Chile, then returned to Colombia and settled in Bogota. Rosita’s mother began working as a prostitute in a red-light district as a desperate way to make ends meet. Rosita hated the life they were forced to live and hated to see her mother engaged in such a shameful and degrading trade. Worse, Rosita knew that the same future awaited her. She saw no way out of the red-light district and knew that it would only be a short time before she would need to start taking customers of her own. Rosita slid into a deep depression and became suicidal because she had no hope for a future with dignity. When Rosita was 19 years-old, her mother found our sewing program at Conviventia and enrolled her daughter. She saw it as a beacon of hope in the midst of darkness. When Rosita came to her first class at Conviventia, she wouldn’t make eye-contact or speak to anyone. It was unclear if she would be able to be successful in the program. She continued to faithfully attend, however, and as she learned to sew and heard the truth of the Gospel, of a God who loves her so lavishly He gave Himself so she could be pure and blameless, Rosita began to heal. She began to speak and interact with her classmates. She became a compassionate helper for her teacher and actually began ministering to the wounds of her classmates. An incredibly bright and talented young lady emerged from her tomb of darkness. Rosita graduated with honors in August 2023, full of joy and hope. In November, Rosita and her mother were baptized together. Thank you for rescuing Rosita, and so many other ladies like her, from bondage and darkness, for enabling them to hear the redemptive message of the gospel, and for restoring them to a life of hope and joy.

*Name changed for security

My name is Davina, and I live with my daughter and grandchild. My daughter is the one who supports our family by working at a supermarket 7 days a week. Together, we have to be very good with items we manage to acquire from the family basket, as she only receives her salary once a month so we need to be good stewards to ensure the food lasts.

Before joining this program, I worked cleaning homes during the mornings, and in the afternoons I would do paid sexual acts around some areas of the Kennedy neighborhood. In those moments I felt like my life would end without me ever getting out of that situation. I didn’t believe I had any new opportunities. My life changed in a radical way because at the PTI Training Institute they taught me how much value I have as a woman, and to believe in myself. I now occupy my time learning and I value very much all that’s been done to help us.

The most important lesson has been learning how to pray and knowing that God loves me and wants the best for my life. It has been very meaningful to share with and learn with other women. May God bless you for the help you’ve extended to us, thank you for supporting us in our education, because thanks to you, we’re here.

My name is Barbara. I live with my daughter and my one-year-old grandchild.

Starting this technical training in manufacturing and designing clothes with Conviventia has been a great blessing in my life, as I’ve faced suffering and hard situations since my childhood and this has signified a new beginning in all of the aspects of my life. The knowledge that I’ve obtained, not only in manufacturing clothes, but also in healing my heart and forgiving the people who have hurt me - just like I have learned to forgive myself for my bad decisions - is something that strengthens me.

One of the most important lessons I have learned this year is how much love God has for me. During this time, I’ve also learned how to love and value myself as a woman, recognizing my talents and skills, because although I had no prior knowledge of clothes manufacturing, I’ve persevered and given my best effort each day to learn each technique and complete the garments following the instructor’s directions.

I’m happy because simply by using my hands, I can create different clothing items. It’s a great blessing to me - everything I’ve learned and discovering talents I didn’t think I had.

My dream is to finish my technical training certification and start a business where I can work from home creating clothes.

I thank you and Hilltop of Hope for helping me write a new story for my life, and for your kind, generous hearts. Your support allows us to improve our lives and the lives of our families.

My name is Alejandra. I’m in my 30s, and I receive technical training in clothes design and manufacturing. My greatest wish is to finish my training and turn this into a stable income.

At Conviventia they have helped me a lot, the instructor is so patient and dedicated. I dream of having my own income and my own tools.

I live with my eldest son, and we’ve experienced different problems in my home due to my son’s problem with overconsumption of alcohol.

I’m constantly worried because sometimes I can go all night without hearing from him and I worry something bad will happen to him. I suffer from my blood pressure and can’t handle strong emotions; if a situation is too much I immediately have to go to the hospital. I wake up very early, make coffee, get dressed for the day and leave some lunch prepared for my son. Then, I go to Conviventia’s clothes manufacturing class from 8am until 12pm, I get home at 3pm and rest, then have some lunch.

Before joining Conviventia’s project I felt very sad, I had a lot of issues with my son, and I lost my mom not long ago. Today I’m doing much better. I don’t feel my mother’s loss as heavily, Conviventia has provided me with a lot of spiritual support and my technical training motivates me a lot. Going to class is the highlight of my day. My health has gotten significantly better, as has my spiritual health. I’m much more calm. I learned to defend myself with my work and my studies. I know how to do this and don’t need to beg others for help anymore. I learned to value myself and to have faith, to study hard to succeed and to fight for my dreams. To be patient, and to work for myself.

I hope to work and put into practice all that I have learned at Conviventia, to have my own machines and design and create clothes for girls, to have my own income and economic stability, and to support my son in his recovery from alcohol addiction.

Thank you Conviventia and Hilltop of Hope for believing in us and for helping us with our education and training. Thank you for your kindness.

My name is Camila, and I'm in my 30s. I live with my 2 young children, and my elderly father.

It’s important to me to start my day at 5:00am in order to be able to make breakfast, and also leave lunch partially prepared for my family. I have to be at class at 8am, finish class at 1pm, and rush home to finish making lunch. In the afternoons I usually have doctor’s appointments, I sell my bags, or I go recycle so I can come home at night and leave everything organized for the following day, and then repeat my daily routine.

Before joining the training program, I would spend all day working on whatever job I was able to, fighting to get by as it’s very difficult to find a job in my country. In those times, I didn’t have any goals because I was only working to survive.

I didn’t have any goals - I was just surviving. I worked very hard to make rent and supply the basics for my home. This educational project has been very impactful. It has significantly improved my life now that I have knowledge and skills, and I can leave behind needing to use my body as a work tool. Instead I can get the income I need to succeed by using my hands and my brain which hold incredible potential for design and fashion.

I currently have both short term and long term goals to have the quality of life I deserve. This year I’m thankful for growing in the value of tolerance, as it is a daily challenge. Additionally I know I have a lot of skills, such as learning and teaching the beautiful art that is making clothes. I’m patient and have the will to succeed.

They’ve helped me a lot in terms of personal development. I learned to love myself more, to value myself more as the beautiful woman that I am, and to know that I mean so much to God and to others, because I’m a courageous and resilient woman. I love everything I’ve learned in this beautiful place. It’s incredible to access all of the knowledge and resources at Conviventia's Technical Training Center, as they have provided everything I’ve needed to learn and given me the best tools and support. When I enter this institution, I forget about all of the problems happening out on the street and I focus more on what my future holds and all the skills, values, and knowledge I’ve acquired. I love the leadership, patience, and perseverance that everybody at this organization has with us, in hiring such an excellent teacher that leads with so much love and has helped us leave behind our fears of not being able to succeed in this harsh society.

In the future, I hope to have my own small business, creating beautiful dresses for women and girls, where I can keep creating unique and innovative designs. For me, it would be fundamental to buy all of my machines and tools, especially to be able to train other courageous women in this beautiful profession.

I thank you and Hilltop of Hope for the beautiful work that you’re doing, blessing others. This kindness, this support in helping us succeed in this process, which we start and finish in the name of Jesus, has changed my way of thinking for good. I pray and hope you will continue to support us until we receive our certification.

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