Consider supporting Project Rahab (find out more here) this Christmas by purchasing gifts from Creations @ The Edge, an online makers’ boutique that sells inspirational handmade products by women. Rev. Heather McDuffee (a friend of Rev. Molly’s) founded Project Rahab, a 7-month program that empowers women who have a significant barrier to employment.
In 2019, Rev. Heather walked away from 20 years of parish ministry not knowing what to do next. Two months later, COVID19 hit. Her children were home ALL THE TIME and she was making them hot lunches and making sure they were online for school. She wondered how under-resourced women were doing. She reached out to some of them to find they were at home with kids too, kids who were struggling to survive online school. Rev. Heather shared “none of us were ok. Work wasn’t an option for any of us.”
That’s when she started to hear the data.
- 2.3 million women left the workforce in 2020 to care for children and family members.
- The service sector was hit the hardest, where women are over-represented, partly due to persistent occupational segregation.
- Women still make 82 cents to the dollar of every man. Black women earn 63 cents to every white man. This intersection goes mostly unmentioned.
- Women aren’t returning to work as quickly as economists thought, which sends women in the workforce back to 1988 numbers
She kept thinking about a story in the book of Joshua about an unmarried Canaanite woman named Rahab, an innkeeper (and possible sex worker). Her house, like other marginalized people, was built on the edge of society, quite literally within the wall of Jericho.
Rahab’s family was spared by hanging a red cord outside her window. Rahab, who was triply marginalized—racially, female, and under-resourced—moved to the center of the community because she was the bearer of a divine message: Creativity will pave the path towards freedom.
Rev. Heather began dreaming about how to address this social problem with creativity, play and enterprise. What emerged was Project Rahab, a 7-month program that empowers women who have a significant barrier to employment. Through group process and coaching, meaningful mentors and work experience, Rahab Sisters are finding a greater purpose and communal support through entrepreneurship.
Rev. Heather wanted to financially sustain this new ministry with social enterprise. Through generous collaboration with First United Methodist Church Colorado Springs, she also started Creations @ The Edge. Creations is a unique makers boutique that sells inspirational handmade items, owned and made by women.
“We are so proud of our first Rahab cohort that started in September. They are so creative, highly engaged in their community, low income, Black and Brown, self-starting, loving mothers. I pray that your church will support our Rahab Family on their new journey of entrepreneurship, self-discovery and financial freedom.”
— Rev. Heather McDuffee