Archives For Client Stories

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Rather than favoring the religious elite, Jesus chose to spend time with the marginalized. Desiring to emulate our Savior, HOPE has a strategic objective to serve communities that are not open to the Gospel and those that have little access to microenterprise development services. Worldwide, the HOPE network intentionally reaches out to some of the most disenfranchised communities in the countries where we serve.

Serving the Batwa in Burundi

In 2016, HOPE Burundi launched a savings program with the Batwa, an ethnic group that has historically faced discrimination and abuse. Making up less than 2 percent of Burundi’s population, the Batwa rarely own land, and few have access to an education. Many Batwa survive by selling clay pots for less than 3 cents each. Often unwelcome in traditional churches, a large number of Batwa practice animism, a belief system that ascribes spiritual qualities to objects, places, or creatures. Continue Reading…

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by Annie Rose Ansley, HOPE Trips Liaison

Most days, Chrismene makes and sells traditional Dominican snacks and dulces, or sweets. A client of HOPE’s partner in the Dominican Republic, Esperanza International, Chrismene also uses her loans to maintain a side business selling accessories and household goods. Most days, when she makes and sells dulces, this is what her day looks like:

5:00 a.m.

A 45-year-old mother of nine, Chrismene starts every day around 5:00 a.m., when she heads to the largest market in the Santo Domingo province, Mercado Nuevo. The first part of her day is in fact the hardest: since Chrismene’s neighborhood can be dangerous before dawn, she often has to wait for neighbors, wasting valuable time, so they can walk to the main road in a group.2016-Market_buying peanuts

Despite the overwhelming size of the market, Chrismene knows the best stall for each item she needs—coconuts, ginger, sesame seeds, peanuts, sugar, oil. An hour of bargaining, weighing and bagging later, Chrismene departs with her purchases.

Continue Reading…

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Nestled in the mountains of western Ukraine, the small town of Khust boasts some of the country’s greatest mountain biking trails. Tourists from all over the world come to experience the region’s beauty. For Lesya Login, a native of Khust, biking is a deep passion—something she and her husband, Nicholai, dreamed of sharing with others.

Early in their marriage, Lesya worked as a coach at a school while Nicholai worked as a bike repairman. They dreamed of one day starting their own business selling bikes. After Lesya purchased and sold several bikes to test out their idea, she was convinced that the business would work—but the Logins lacked the capital needed to get it off the ground.

As Lesya sought a solution, commercial banks repeatedly denied her loan applications, doubtful that someone so young—just 22 years old at the time—and with no business experience would be able to repay. Determined, Lesya continued to search for a bank that would give her a loan. That’s when their neighbor, Michael, told Lesya and Nicholai about the organization he worked for: HOPE Ukraine.

Continue Reading…

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On International Women’s Day, celebrated on March 8, we honor women who courageously love, serve, and invest their God-given skills and talents into their churches, families, workplaces, and communities.

In Rwanda, HOPE serves over 520,000 people—63 percent of whom are women—through microfinance and savings services. To hear how Rwandan women are tackling the challenges of poverty for their families and in their communities, we asked members of HOPE Rwanda’s savings program a few questions.

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Working as a team, Feresiya and her husband own and manage three small businesses—a barber shop, small corner store, and wedding dress rental business—in addition to their vegetable garden.

What makes Rwandan women strong?

I think it is because they have known their worth! They love working and improving themselves, and they love taking responsibility for their families just like men. … [women] can be a big support in the community and in their families. Continue Reading…

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by Chris McCurdy, Former Field Communications Fellow in Zambia

Throughout the course of my time in Zambia, the word that best describes this ministry is “enthusiastic.” Everyone involved with the new Zambia savings and credit association (SCA) ministry is doing their part to advance the Kingdom. This excitement extends from the head office in the capital city of Lusaka all the way to each SCA member within the rural communities we serve. I would like to share just a few short stories of the different types of transformation we’ve seen over the last few months.

Spiritually: Mwilu Sharon

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Since joining her savings group, Mwilu shared with me that she has felt a powerful conviction to give back to God, because before it had been difficult to tithe the little she had. She told me:

God is the giver and the help. He is my refuge and is always there for me.

Mwilu said that the spiritual discipline of tithing has been challenging but also rewarding. When she first joined the group, she was only able to save two shares. However, after a few Sundays of tithing, she noticed her cosmetic business was seeing growth and contributed more to her savings group. In just three months’ time, Mwilu went from two shares to five. She gives God the full glory for each increase and shared that her group has been a huge blessing. “When we come, we sing and share devotions. I have a bigger community now.” Continue Reading…

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In 2016, HOPE International had the great privilege of walking alongside more than 950,000 families around the world! Through our blog, we’ve shared a few their stories, along with insights into our work and the communities where we serve. We hope that you’ve been encouraged, challenged, and inspired in your own life to grow in faith and service to the Kingdom. In case you missed any of these popular blog posts, here are the top five most read posts from 2016.

What makes Anita smile?

What the saddest people in the world look like

March 14, 2016 – Is Burundi the saddest country in the world? Lauren Sheard, HOPE Burundi’s program manager, wrote about a different, more hopeful Burundi, quoting HOPE savings members who share why they smile despite living in challenging circumstances. Learn why

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“I have a calling”

May 18, 2016 – Each year, we celebrate clients who demonstrate HOPE’s values of perseverance, compassion, character, and creativity by announcing Thurman Award winners. 2016’s winner, Beatrice Bamurange, shares her story of calling and service to Rwandan families living in poverty. Watch her story

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How to help in Haiti right now

October 7, 2016 – On October 4, Hurricane Matthew slammed into the southwestern region of Haiti. We invited you then to consider how you could help bring assistance to Haitian families, and we ask you to join us in lifting up the people of Haiti through these prayer requests that are still relevant today. Pray for Haiti

File_004I took my teaching job—and paycheck—for granted

August 10, 2016 – After Luke Harbaugh, HOPE’s church and community liaison, met Rosemarie, a HOPE Haiti savings member, he had to consider the question, “What if I don’t get paid this week?” Read his reflection

IMG_4691Five ways to rethink your short-term missions trip

July 28, 2016 – HOPE Trips are distinct from what many might think of the typical missions trip to be. Annie Rose Ansley, our HOPE Trips liaison, shared five ways to set up short-term missions trips that are positive and powerful experiences. Learn more