Each year, we celebrate clients who demonstrate HOPE’s values of perseverance, compassion, character, and creativity by announcing Thurman Award winners. Established in honor of HOPE’s first CEO and his wife, the Thurman Award celebrates clients who have not only experienced change in their own lives but have also extended that transformation to others in their community. We’re excited to share the story of this year’s honorable mention from Latin America: Clari Santana.
After a serious car accident claimed one of Clari Santana’s legs and one of her hands, she didn’t know what to do next. A single mother of two boys, she now couldn’t continue in her business of delivering food to factory workers. “I thought the world had ended,” she shared. That’s when she heard about Esperanza International, HOPE’s local partner in the Dominican Republic.
With loans from Esperanza, she started purchasing kitchen items in bulk for reselling. As her business grew, Clari repeatedly demonstrated her work ethic and trustworthiness, and she continued to put Esperanza loans to use in her business. In recent years, she has moved from selling cookware to the more profitable business of buying and selling pigs.
After her accident, Clari continued to work diligently to support her sons. Though even simple household tasks were a challenge, she continued ironing, cooking, and cleaning, even mopping from her wheelchair. As her business grew, she was able to rent a nicer apartment with two bedrooms and a kitchen. “I didn’t stop because I’d been injured,” she says. “No, I kept moving forward. I continued onward.”
Soon after Clari’s accident, she came to know Christ after a neighbor invited her to church. Clari joined Esperanza as a new believer, and she loved how her community bank’s spiritual emphasis helped her go deeper in her relationship with God. “Each thing you do, you first present it to God. And He guides and protects you,” she says.
Watch this 360° video and travel to the Dominican Republic on a virtual HOPE Trip to meet clients of HOPE International’s local partner, Esperanza International, and witness how each client uses their skills and talents to provide for their families and communities.