By Malu Garcia, Savings Group Program Training Specialist (Philippines)

Several months ago, I joined a savings group that meets in an unusual location: a cemetery.

Since the 1980s, a growing number of people have chosen to live in the Cebu Chinese Cemetery—now totaling more than 100 families, some of whom have even given birth to their children in the cemetery. Some have transformed covered tombs into homes by hanging tarps for privacy—meaning that the gravestone serves as their table for meals and their bed at night. Others sleep on uncovered graves—no roof over their heads, no privacy, and no protection from animals. Some of the tombs are open, meaning that the relatives of the dead person have removed the bones and transferred them elsewhere. Near some of the oldest caskets, pieces of bone are littered on the surrounding area. The children run around these tombs as though they were in a playground. The young people and adults play cards over the tombs. I wondered where they take a bath, where their toilet is, where they wash their clothes.

To me, the heaviest part of their situation is that they expect to live out their entire lives in the cemetery. They have stopped dreaming of owning a proper home someday. But I believe that it is not God’s design for people to live with the dead; it is God’s design for people to be able to dream of more for their lives. He wants people and communities to flourish and experience Him.

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Like 94 percent of Malawians,* Alinafe lacked access to formal lending services. This kept her and her husband from getting the funds they needed to pursue their dream of opening a store. And without consistent employment, the couple struggled to pay for adequate housing or schooling for their four children.

But poverty a­ffected more than Alinafe’s finances. “I looked down upon myself,” she recalls. Knowing of Alinafe’s situation, a friend (also named Alinafe) invited her to join Chisomo (“grace”), a savings group formed through a local church. Still, Alinafe remained doubtful: “I felt too small and unworthy to join the group.” Continue Reading…

So God created humankind in his image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:27 (NRSV)

At HOPE International, we affirm the inherent dignity and worth of women, and we’re grateful to be one of many organizations working to remove the barriers that often keep women from realizing their full God-given potential.

We’re privileged to witness so many stories of women who are using financial tools to tackle poverty for their families and communities. As their stories demonstrate, these three women are loving God and their neighbors with boldness, action, and creativity. In the words of Proverbs 31, they are eshet chayil—”women of valor.” Continue Reading…

By Lesly Jules, HOPE Haiti Country Director

If you follow much of the U.S.-reported news on my home country of Haiti, you’re probably used to hearing reports of protests, violence, natural disasters, and corruption. In our country, our history is colored with chronic instability and volatility. Continue Reading…

by Chris Horst, Chief Advancement Officer

Sixbert lived on only $60 each month. With his family of nine, he struggled to provide for the needs of his family. After missing several rent payments, Sixbert’s family was evicted and became homeless.

As a husband and father myself, I can’t imagine looking into the eyes of my wife and kids in that moment, feeling completely helpless, alone, and uncertain. Continue Reading…

 

It’s no secret that, around the world, life can be inordinately difficult for women. From violence to unequal pay to limited access to land ownership, women face unique challenges.

At HOPE International, we believe in the inherent dignity and worth of women, and we’re grateful to be one of many organizations that are working to remove barriers for women around the world. This International Women’s Day, we invite you to explore these other organizations that are working for women’s equality around the world. Continue Reading…