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Celebrating Michu on Mother’s Day
May 9, 2024

Happy Mother’s Day to everyone who plays a maternal role in someone’s life – and to the lucky people who love and are loved by them!

This Mother’s Day, we want to tell you a story about an incredible mother. This mother, Michu*, not only survived an unbelievably dark time in her life, she powered through to ensure she and her children thrive. 

Here’s her story.

When Michu’s husband died suddenly, her life and her daughter’s life changed irrevocably. He had been the pillar of their household, and his loss sunk their entire family into deep grief and despair. Although Michu worked, her husband had always been the primary breadwinner. They had been poor, but had enough to get by. Now, on top of losing her life partner, she alone was responsible for their 4 children…plus both sets of elderly grandparents.

Her eldest child, Sara, was 10 years old at the time and the cost of tuition for all 4 children’s education was too much to bear. Michu just couldn’t do it. She couldn’t make it work. The situation was so dire, she had to consider asking her daughter to drop out of school to help support their family. Michu said, “At that time, the world was dark and I couldn’t see a way out.”

Luckily, someone at their church introduced their family to The Freedom Story and Sara was able to get a scholarship!

When Michu heard that Sara got a scholarship, she burst into tears at the good news. As Sara puts it, “My mom cried as though all the stress, all the fear, was taken away. I thank God for giving me such a great opportunity. This kind of opportunity is not easy for everyone to receive.” 

Michu always did everything she could to improve her family’s circumstances – and she never stopped, even after the help of the scholarship. “Sara’s mother is the hardest working of all of our scholarship families,” says Ning, one of our staff mentors. “She would wake up at 3 am to prepare pork to sell at the local market until 9 am. Then, she would come home, change, and go out to her pineapple farm to work until 3 pm. After that, she would go to sell crepes, sometimes not coming home until midnight.” 

When COVID hit, it was another setback. Michu couldn’t sell food anymore, so she figured out how to shift to work as a daily wage laborer in construction and agriculture. 

When she wasn’t working, she continually focused on advancing as much as possible, even joining in training sessions for things like personal financial management. 

Michu and her children are thriving now. Sara is a good student, currently studying math, science, English, and even music in her free time. She dreams of studying abroad in America or being an au pair after she graduates. In early 2021, our Sustainable Livelihoods program approached their family and suggested raising chickens as a form of additional income. With support from The Freedom Story, one of the grandfathers started raising chickens and selling eggs in their village. (He’s so involved with his chickens he plays music for them!) 

And both Michu and Sara have developed new confidence since joining The Freedom Story. “Before, Michu wouldn’t talk to others or share anything because she saw others as better than her. Despite being such a hard worker, she never saw her own value,” says Ning. 

When you hear stories about trafficking, there’s often so much emphasis on how families are involved in the trafficking. It does happen, and if Michu had made Sara dropout of school at age 10, she would have been putting her daughter at high risk of becoming trafficked.

But, hopefully her story shows that sometimes the stories are so much more complex. Unless you dig deeper, you might miss the incredible well of grief or stress that might be a precursor to trafficking conditions…and you might miss the incredible resilience and striving determination people show if only they’re given half a chance.

Michu may struggle with seeing her own value, but we at The Freedom Story do not. We find her determination and will so inspiring, and we hope you do too.  Thank you to all our donors who support amazing children and moms like Sara and Michu. Thank you, to all the mothers and mother figures out there who do this daily for family and others!


 *Their names have been changed to protect their privacy.

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