Archives For Client Stories

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…

Around the world, we see creative, industrious men and women committed to providing for their families and serving their communities through meaningful work. In this year’s gift catalog, we’ve included some of the tools HOPE International-network clients use in some of the most common jobs in the developing world: animal rearing, farming, tailoring, and store ownership. In this series, we’ll dive into some of the challenges faced by those in that profession.

In the Dominican Republic, they’re called colmados. In the Philippines, they’re called sari sari stores. In Paraguay, they’re called dispensas. In Rwanda, they’re called boutiques. No matter the name, the corner store is a staple of life in developing countries.

Ubiquitous on many a corner in many a community, small convenience stores sell household essentials like flour, soap, cooking oil, and more. For families living in more rural areas, a corner store allows them to access the items that their households need without spending excess time traveling to larger cities. And since many families in developing countries don’t own a car, their local colmado or sari sari store saves them the expense of taking public transit.

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Around the world, we see creative, industrious men and women committed to providing for their families and serving their communities through meaningful work. In this year’s gift catalog, we’ve included some of the tools HOPE International-network clients use in some of the most common jobs in the developing world: animal rearing, farming, tailoring, and store ownership. In this series, we’ll dive into some of the challenges faced by those in that profession.

For many families in the communities where HOPE serves, their dream is to own livestock—a goat, cow, chicken, or pig.

Owning livestock is a key component of food security, providing families with their own supply of milk, meat, and eggs. And since animal products can add greater nutritional and caloric value to a family’s diet, owning livestock can increase a family’s overall health.

Livestock owners can also use manure to fertilize their crops, cutting down the cost of purchasing fertilizer and increasing their yields. Many families also use smaller animals like sheep or goats as a means of investing their savings—it’s often a safer and more productive way to safeguard built-up sums of money.

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization advocates that if more families have access to livestock ownership, global food security will drastically increase. 

That’s why HOPE invests in animal breeders.

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At HOPE International, we’re constantly encouraged by the ways our clients are growing spiritually, emotionally, and relationally as they steward the material resources God has given them.

We’re seeing so many HOPE-network clients use the resources, talents, and opportunities God has given them to extend generosity outward. These families all over the world are extending Kingdom work far beyond the HOPE network, being Jesus’ hands and feet in their communities by meeting tangible needs. Continue Reading…