THE FIELDER REPORT
Features Michelle Hollaender
Ladies Who Slay the Real Way
A weekly series about women entrepreneurs coming together to be the change, in Dallas and beyond.
By Abra Liberman Garrett
Ladies Who Slay the Real Way – Installment Ten
Michelle Hollaender on opportunities to offer Esperanza (hope) to our friends in Guatemala
In the wake of the tragic eruption of Fuego in Guatemala, many of us are feeling helpless and wondering how best to offer aid to those suffering. This week’s “Lady Who Slays the Real Way,” Michelle Hollaender, has dedicated the last several years of her life to improving living conditions for Guatemalans via her organization Esperanza. Michelle was born in Guatemala, and although she now calls Dallas home, she still holds Guatemala and its people firmly in her heart; she founded International Esperanza Project (IEP) with the intention of transforming the lives of those who live there. The mission of her organization is to inspire hope through healthcare, community development projects, and empowerment. Michelle had been preparing to go to Guatemala when the volcano struck, a tragedy that altered her plans – but not her focus.
“These people are already living in dire conditions and have very little to begin with, for many of them, now the small amount they did have is gone. They have literally lost everything – including the shoes on their feet…which in several cases were melted off as they ran from the lava.” Michelle describes. The fundamental terror of running for one’s life trying to escape fast-flowing lava is all but incomprehensible. The Fuego volcano eruptions have been explosive (verses an eruption that just slowly spews lava) and have created pyroclastic flows – a very fast moving current of lava and the most dangerous type of volcano. Unfortunately, there was neither sufficient time nor warning for many people to evacuate, and families have been left without homes, clothing, and food. Michelle’s mission at this point is to equip individuals with basic necessities first, and then continue with the bigger and broader goal of providing healthcare and education.
In the meantime, there are many ways to help Michelle, Kathy, and Esperanza to assist those in need, for example, only five dollars can purchase a pair of shoes for a child or adult who is walking around in this destruction with bare feet. In addition to the lava, there is massive debris, a great deal of broken glass, and other hazards littering the earth they are walking. Should someone incur an injury from stepping on something dangerous, medical help is not likely to be available. Your very simple donation can help protect another human being – and help to inspire Esperanza, or hope, in the hearts of those who need it most. Please see visit Esperanza.com, and their volcano relief fundrasier to learn more about how you can help.
About The Writer
Abra Liberman Garrett is a writer, wife, mother, yogi, and community activist. Dear friends, Abra and Kathy bonded over their shared love of family, philanthropy, fashion, giving back, and vanilla vodka sodas with a mandarin twist. Abra, a freelancer for various publications such as Modern Luxury, looks forward to future collaborations with KF.
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Photo Credit: Bob Manzano