Michelle Sheba Tolentino is the Co-founder and President of Made in Hope, a nonprofit organization that restores hope and crafts a future for exploited women and children in Asia Pacific.
Under Michelle’s visionary leadership, Made in Hope provides educational and employment opportunities to women who have been exploited through prostitution and human trafficking, empowering them to forge better lives for themselves and their children.
After receiving a Communication Arts degree at the University of Santo Tomas, Michelle attended Moody Graduate School and Theological Seminary in Chicago, where she graduated summa cum laude with a master’s degree in Spiritual Formation and Discipleship.
Michelle hosts a weekly radio program targeting children and youth, develops and disciples young leaders in Southeast Asia through the Asia Emerging Leaders program, and is a traveling speaker and passionate advocate for at-risk women and children.
Raised in one of the largest urban poor communities of Manila, Philippines, Michelle is no stranger to the complex challenges and hardships of extreme poverty. She grew up in a small home with 17 relatives, several of her friends were sold into prostitution as young girls, and her father abandoned her family after years of drug addiction.
Her story was one of hopelessness, fear, chaos, and danger — until her aunt brought her to a local church to be a part of Compassion’s child development program. Through the program staff and the sweet letters from her sponsors, Michelle heard for the first time that she is valuable, loved and beautiful. This message of hope empowered her to thrive despite her circumstances, and her story radically changed.
She remains fervently committed to bringing this same life-changing hope to those in desperate, hopeless situations around the world.
Fueled by the desire to live with credibility, compassion and courage, Michelle loves engaging young people and adults with the challenge to live out their personal stories within the context of God’s greater story. A gifted and compelling communicator, she speaks passionately about social justice, spiritual formation, servant leadership, living counter-cultural lives, and advocating for at-risk populations.
Michelle lives in Manila, and sits on the National Advisory Board of Compassion International’s Leadership Development Program in the Philippines.