Empowering through Advocacy: A Profile in Action

“I’ve met so many brave and courageous women during my life and I learned that a woman can change a lot of dynamics in her family and community.”


Group of women in a truck


Riani Martin first heard about ENLACE when she started attending Crossway Christian Church in 2011. Since then Riani has gone on seven serving trips and one Shine Pilgrimage trip with ENLACE. When asked what her first impression was when she went on her first trip to El Salvador she said, “I was really impressed with ENLACE’s model. The relationships they had in the community and the impact ENLACE made in communities and to see how they love the people in El Salvador was just…WOW.”


Riani has been to many ENLACE communities over the years. She has helped improve a road, and has helped build a bridge, retaining walls, latrines and homes. All of these projects have made a real difference in the daily lives of Salvadoran families.


Woman with shovel
When people pull their resources together they can make a huge impact! For example, $350 builds an eco-stove and $500 builds a latrine.


When asked to share her most recent experience with the Shine Pilgrimage, Riani had A LOT to say! She said it was such a privilege to be a part of the very first Shine Pilgrimage to El Salvador. To be a part of creating spaces for women to meet, talk, and share and be vulnerable together was an amazing and humbling experience. As she talked with the women in a remote area on a mountain top, Riani realized that they all struggled with the same issues. They not only learned new things, like making pupusas for example, they also learned new things they didn’t know about each other. For instance some of the ENLACE staff didn’t realize that other co-workers liked to garden, loved baking, and even watched Korean TV shows!


Women making pupusas


Riani expressed that being a part of an organization that changes people’s lives for the better is an amazing feeling. Speaking of the Shine Collective specifically, Riani loves the idea of women coming together to support each other, not only in her own Shine group, but also in El Salvador and Guatemala. She believes we all need community and being a part of a community that supports and makes a difference in others enriches our own journey. 


Besides raising awareness and money for projects that benefit women and children, her Shine group has had a lot of fun too! They’ve had a Christmas party and exchanged gifts starting with the letter “S” (for Shine), enjoyed a Ladies Tea, and have plans for a retreat where they can recharge, spend some quality time together and possibly try their hands at archery. Now that’s hitting the target! (I couldn’t resist…)




Riani says the best part of being a Shine leader is seeing the impact they make together, seeing their relationships grow and change and being a part of something bigger than themselves. She went on to say, “We are an awesome group of women who value and support each other. I can laugh, cry, have fun, and share life together.”


If you’re someone who is interested in joining Shine, Riani would be the first to tell you that it is life changing! “We can change a family’s life. We can change a community!” If you’d like to boost Riani’s efforts for effective sustainable change, click here.


Profile Photo

Riani Martin was born in a small town in South Africa. After graduating she taught high school accounting and business economics for 14 years. Her husband and two young sons began their journey to the U.S. almost 20 years ago. Riani was a stay at home mom for a few years and volunteered in the children’s ministry at her church. She began working for Crossway Christian Church in New Hampshire as the lead pastor’s assistant, but is now the bookkeeper and Global Outreach Director. Riani especially loves being involved in the Global Church. She is passionate about cooking and baking and enjoys testing out new recipes on the church staff! Riani loves to read, hike, travel, and play board games with her family. She is also a USA certified level II archery coach! 


Woman archer

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