The mission of Hope for Life

It is the mission of ‘HOPE FOR LIFE’ to give to vulnerable women faith in the future and hope for the future and to give them a more positive perspective as they further develop as individuals. It is our vision to provide young women of 18+ a safe place to live and to recover in an environment of encouragement and security. A provisional/interim home where they can discover that life is worth living and where they can learn and experience how to further shape their lives. In addition to the offered housing the women will learn from and with each other and through this strengthen each other. Christian standards and values will be wielded in the house and because of our Christian vision we will pass on God’s love to anyone who stays in the house. In addition to this, ‘HOPE FOR LIFE’ stretches out a helping hand to women in need in Smiltene and surroundings who want help. Training programs and meetings will be organized and where possible financial and/or material support will be offered. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. (Jeremia 29:11,14) To concretize the vision, our aim is to open a house in Smiltene in September 2015. In this house there will be room for 6 vulnerable young women who can develop themselves in a safe environment. A training program will be offered that consists of training in all areas of life and receiving life-experience. The women may discover who they are, what strengths they have and in which areas they can develop themselves. The women will be busy during the day, either because they have a paid job, or work as a volunteer or following a study. Where possible, they also contribute financially to the costs of daily living. This is also part of the training. The purpose is to enable the women to live on their own in another house/their own house. To be able to realize and maintain the house for women, permanent financial support is needed, since it is locally not available. Aside from co-operation with local organizations, a network of supporters and volunteers (from Latvia and the Netherlands, amongst others) is also necessary to further shape and form in the vision of the House . Background Latvia is a democratic parliamentary republic established in 1918. However, its independence was interrupted by Word War II and the Soviet occupation. On 23rd August 1989 two million people from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania formed a human “chain” from Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, through Riga to Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, the so called ‘Baltic Way’. This was a symbolic demonstration against the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which was signed fifty years earlier on that date. In the autumn of 1989 the highest soviets of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania decided that the Soviet occupation of these countries in 1940 was illegal. On 21 August, 1991, the Latvian Supreme Council declared Latvia to be an independent country; this was acknowledged by the Soviet Union on 6th September, 1991. The remains of years of suppression by the Russian Regime are deeply rooted in the society. As a result of the economic crisis many Latvians have left abroad because of the high unemployment rate. Many divorces (77% within the first 5 years of marriage), alcoholism, depression and above called factors contribute to an overwhelming feeling of desperation, and therefore many people see no opportunities or have no hope for the future. Young women in these situations run the risk to become a victim of human trafficking and exploitation which unfortunately is not an exception in Latvia. Driven by compassion for women, we have offered various activities in Smiltene, such as evenings for teenage girls and for women and also afternoon kids parties where there were opportunities created especially for the mothers/parents to be heard. As a result of all the encounters and personal contacts realization has come that there is a need amongst women in Latvia. Many women have not learnt how to be a wife/woman or mother and they have not learnt how to live a meaningful life because they have deprived attention and support. Especially for young, vulnerable women it is difficult to develop themselves because they haven’t had an example. It has become clear that there is a need for support and empowerment for women. There is little to no safety net for young women leaving an orphanage or leaving crisis care or coming from a difficult situation at home. They in particular, need support because they have their whole life before them so they can break the pattern. The destiny/fate of these women has touched us deeply and has motivated us to start up a Foundation, so that with assistance, support and an interim safe place to live, faith and hope for the future can be offered. Nynke Zaal Founder HOPE FOR LIFE

 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. (Jeremia 29:11,14)