Rita Prins spotted Alice from a distance. The thin, young woman sat on the ground with a baby, her back resting
against a mud hut. “I could see that she was
very sick, and as we drew closer I could see
that the baby she was holding was limp and
also very ill. Both were HIV positive and
struggling to live.” Prins was asked to pray
for Alice, but found herself choked up with
tears and at a complete loss for words.
“It was at that moment that I knew I
needed to commit my life to helping the
orphan and the widow, and to allow God
to work through me, to touch their lives in
whatever way He leads,” remembers Prins.
That encounter was her introduction
to Africa. But her journey to that dusty
Malawian slum began two years earlier
when she heard Jim Cantelon, director
of VisionLedd ( www.visionledd.com),
speak at People’s Church in Toronto. She
remembers a moment of clarity, realiz-
ing she needed to live her life differently.
VisionLedd is a ministry reaching out to
orphans, widows and others affected by
HIV/AIDS, and at that moment Cantelon
was considering a new program aimed at
empowering women specifically.
That was the 1990s, and Prins, a medical lab technologist, knew about the es-
Change a woman’s life, and often her family and community change along with
it. Canadian ministries are strategically and compassionately engaging with
women around the world. Here is the story of three distinct ministries with a
heart for women – and how they enable positive change. By Alex Newman
Empowering Women Overseas
rita Prins assists with the Mngwangwa widows’ group in Malawi. PHo To: VIsIonlEDD