Earlier this year, a temporary shutdown to stop the spread of COVID-19 restricted the grocery and grill business that Jofrey Mbema (pictured) owns in the Republic of Congo. With his income suddenly and unexpectedly cut, Jofrey’s greatest concern was how to provide for his family. But he also wondered how he’d manage to repay the business loan he’d taken through HOPE Congo.
At the time, Jofrey reflected, “The confinement imposed to fight COVID-19 has been a tough and unexpected time.”
It was then that HOPE Congo reached out with a six-week grace period, granting a reprieve on loan repayments for entrepreneurs whose businesses had been impacted by the shutdown.
“The grace period helped me a lot, and I have been able to save while keeping in mind the repayment’s resumption,” Jofrey says, adding that he was able to put aside about $102 (U.S.) in savings during that time.
This meant that when his daughter fell ill, he was able to pay for her medical care.
Jofrey also extended a grace period of his own to three of his customers—taxi drivers who were out of work and couldn’t pay for groceries for their families. “I gave them a grace period and allowed them to borrow more food for their families during the lockdown,” he says.
Today, the lockdown has lifted, and Jofrey has been able to keep his business afloat, providing groceries and other essentials to his community.
And he continues to dream. “In the future, I intend to finalize the building of my house and invest in transportation,” he says. “Coronavirus cannot stop my dearest dreams from coming true, for I believe in God.”
At HOPE International, we’re coming alongside entrepreneurs and communities as they recover from crippling financial shocks caused by coronavirus lockdowns. Our message to those we serve is, “We’re with you in this.”
If you’re ready to stand alongside Jofrey and other entrepreneurs as they adapt their businesses to provide for their families and serve their communities, then give to Rebuilding Dreams.
(For a limited time, every first-time gift* to HOPE or increases over your 2019 donations will be doubled—up to $600,000.)
*Also includes first gifts since December 31, 2018.