Archives For Client Stories

Growing up in poverty in rural Malawi, Phanny raised her siblings on her own. Struggling to get by, she remembers often going to bed hungry. With few options to support themselves, Phanny and her siblings would collect firewood to sell over 10 miles from their home. And like many Malawians in her situation, she got married as a teenager, seeing few opportunities to develop herself on her own. Yet after having a daughter, life became even more challenging, and she and her husband struggled to put food on the table. Continue Reading…

by Elizabeth Dewes, Field Journalism Fellow (Zambia)

Like women around the world, Dorothy wears many hats. A wife and mother to seven biological children and two adopted, she’s also an entrepreneur who’s grown her business in Lusaka, Zambia, from a small popcorn stand into a shop that sells blankets, grain, oil, and salt. Here’s a glimpse into a day in Dorothy’s life. Continue Reading…

Many small businesses in middle-income countries have outgrown typical microfinance loan sizes but still do not qualify for commercial lending. Stuck in the “missing middle,” these companies have great potential to provide jobs and contribute to the local economy, yet credit barriers stand in their way. Continue Reading…

When Success Tatire’s church in Zimbabwe decided to form savings groups in 2016, they nominated Success to serve as facilitator. Initially hesitant to take on this new responsibility, Success is now grateful she agreed: “I realized it was not me or the [church] warden who chose me, it was God. We make our plans and our decisions, but He has the final answer.” Continue Reading…

“Blessed are those whose strength is in you.” Psalm 84:5a

This Mother’s Day, join us in honoring them by reading how three tenacious mothers, rooted in God’s strength, are overcoming obstacles to invest in bold dreams. Continue Reading…

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.

Continue Reading…