Knitting Stories of Hope: The Impact of Handspun Hope’s Counseling Program

Knitting Stories of Hope: The Impact of Handspun Hope’s Counseling Program


Through a holistic and transformational work environment, our goal as a ministry is to transform lives. Many of the women working for Handspun Hope have suffered from traumatic loss, HIV/AIDS, and marginalization in their own communities. We believe true transformation can only come through relationship with Jesus Christ. We also believe that everyone can be transformed into healed individuals who can care for themselves and their families.

Because of this, our counseling program has a critical role in our holistic care model. This program allows us to provide our staff with the tools, support and community to help our staff live a lifestyle of the Gospel.



As we continue to share about our counseling program throughout the month of April, we wanted to introduce to you to our counseling team, Olive Muhawenimana and Mary Claire Umurerwa! Though the counseling team may be small in numbers, their work makes a BIG impact. Spend just a few minutes at our cooperative and you’ll see how adored and appreciated they are!

And while every staff member has a unique story, we have chosen testimonies from five Handspun Hope ladies who have shared the impact counseling has made in their life. Everyone’s journey is different, but the common thread we see is that, overall, counseling has made a difference in their lives.

We hope you enjoy learning a bit more about the people behind the program and the lives that have changed because of it!


All interviews shared with explicit permission from each woman.




"In my job, I see a lot of different struggles like health issues, family conflict, divorce, poverty, and loss. I love seeing a client experience change as a result of counseling. It's amazing to watch them experience healing from their trauma, find joy, and have hope for their future.” 

- Olive


Click here to read our interview with Olive, conducted spring of 2020, where she discusses COVID-19 and the importance of counseling.



"My entire life I have loved making people happy. Now, working in psychology, I love helping different people through their struggles and I love seeing them find happiness and healing."

- Marie Claire

Click here to read an interview with Mary Claire where she shares a bit about herself and the counseling program.




"Before, I struggled with shame and isolation because of my health condition. I have learned how to better communicate with those around me and I have hope for my future."

- Marie

A mother of two, Marie’s husband lost his life to HIV/AIDS. Years after his passing, she learned that she, too, was HIV positive. Prior to joining Handspun Hope she struggled to find employment and lived in shame because of her health. Now, she has been given the resources she needs to address both her physical and mental health, and she is grateful for the hope she has found for the future!

Marie is currently unsponsored. If you are interested in learning more or becoming a sponsor, click here.



"Counseling has taught me how to deal with my emotional wounds and how to handle difficult situations as they arise in the future."

- Francine

Francine was born into an abusive family and, at 19, got married to escape her father’s abuse. She and her husband ran a successful business until one day thieves broke in, robbed them, and kidnapped her husband. Though he was able to escape, he returned profoundly disabled and unable to work. Counseling has helped Francine work through her past experiences while also providing her the tools she needs to handle difficult situations in the future.

Francine currently needs $100/month to be fully sponsored. If you are interested in learning more or becoming a sponsor, click here.



"Before counseling I was struggling with my mental health and thoughts of self harm. Now, my mental health has improved and my entire family is better equipped to handle conflict."

- Angelique

Prior to joining Handspun Hope, Angelique, a single mother to five children, struggled with thoughts of self harm and feelings of isolation. Now, not only is she able to provide for her family’s physical and material needs, but she is also equipped with the tools needed to support them emotionally.



"Group counseling, with other ladies who have similar backgrounds and emotional struggles to mine, has helped me learn the tools I need to overcome my past."

- Mama Alexandre

Having lost both parents at a young age and a single mother to seven children, Mama Alexandre used to feel alone in her struggles. And, prior to working at Handspun Hope, she struggled to take care of her family’s material needs. But, thanks to group counseling, she has realized that there are other people who understand her pain and experiences. She is grateful for the relationships she has made with her coworkers and the support they offer one another.



"Before, I was isolated from others. Counseling has changed my life. I have learned how to better communicate my feelings and struggles - and I love sharing my story with others to show what God has done in my life!"

- Jackie

 Before working at Handspun Hope and receiving counseling, Jackie felt very alone and struggled to provide for her family. Now, she has learned effective communication tools, feels hopeful for the future and continues to trust in God’s provision for her and her children. She even travels around her district telling others about God’s power and what he has done in her life!



As evidenced in the testimonies above, counseling is a critical piece of our holistic care model. And while every staff member at Handspun Hope has experienced some form of trauma, we are grateful for our counseling team who have helped every single woman learn the tools needed to help themselves, and their families, move forward amidst their pain.

Each of the ladies working for Handspun Hope has her own story. We encourage you to spend some time reading them - to see just how much these women have lost, survived and overcome. To read more about our staff, click here.



Building on Hope

We began this year with a goal to raise $16,000 to finish the second floor of the counseling center. While we raised a portion of the funds needed through the Heading for Hope Virtual 5k, we’ve launched a new fundraiser for the month of April to help us meet our goal:
Building on Hope: The Finish Line Fundraiser for The Will Barnhill Counseling Center.


We’re on a mission to raise the remaining $14,000 needed to build the second level of our counseling center.

We also have some VERY generous individuals who have agreed to match donations up to $7,000!


This means that when you give, your donation is D O U B L E D! (Yes, you read that right!) $5 is $10. $100 is $200. $250 is $500!
Every gift matters. Every amount makes a difference. When you give, you provide critical mental health services to people who have suffered the unimaginable. You create a space where stories will be rewritten and lives made new.


And, most importantly, you give hope.





This blog is part three of a five part blog series for our latest fundraiser, Building on Hope: The Finish Line Fundraiser for The Will Barnhill Counseling Center. To read the first blog in the series and learn more about the fundraiser, click the link below.