Archives For Client Stories

by Colton Parks, Communications Fellow (HOPE Rwanda)

Everyone has their way of describing the unique times we find ourselves in today. For me, like many, the word is uncertain.

Uncertainty underlies my thoughts about job security, schools re-opening, the timeline for the virus spread to wane, the stock market, and a host of other facets of life I previously took for granted. I feel uncertain about what this pandemic means, and that feeling is present when I fall asleep, and it’s there when I wake up.

A few months ago, I was in a village called Mugina, visiting savings group members and hearing their stories. My third interview of the day was with a woman named Speciose. After greeting us, she guided us gently down a hill to her home, a small building nestled in the shadow of a much larger structure that was without a roof. The larger, open-air home stood empty, a shell of a house, exposed to the rain and wind. Almost a year before, a storm had pried off the entire roof and sent it flying, and the smaller house had served as a temporary shelter for Speciose and her husband ever since. Continue Reading…

Nicole Kinzonzi’s generosity ripples throughout her community in the Republic of Congo.

When a neighbor said she was going to a loan shark, Nicole referred her to HOPE Congo instead. When Nicole saw that another neighbor’s child had been out of school for a year, she paid the $15 needed to get the child back in school. When Nicole’s church couldn’t afford its water bill—$21 a month—she made the payments. Continue Reading…

Leya Mshani

Leya Mshani lives in Chitipa, a district in northern Malawi, with her husband and children.

A year ago, Leya and her nearby neighbors each spent around 35 hours per week—the equivalent of a full-time job in the U.S.—collecting water for their families.

When friends invited her to join Ungweru (“light”) savings group through their church (a HOPE partner), Leya started saving 500 kwacha (roughly 67¢ USD) at each group meeting.

As she paid her shares, she used her first loan from the group to take an intensive tailoring course in order to pursue her dream of becoming a seamstress. Over the next two years, Leya used funds from her savings, loans, and profits to start a sewing business, make home improvements, purchase livestock, support her husband in starting a taxi business, and teach other women how to sew to earn income. Continue Reading…

If given the opportunity, 50% of Moldovans would leave their country to work abroad.

And many have left. Moldova’s emigration rate is the eleventh highest worldwide. Since the 1990s, a shortage of stable jobs has led thousands to move abroad in search of work, and this trend continues today: Between 2000 and 2014, the number of people who traveled abroad to find work grew from 138,000 to 341,900—a 147% increase.

To keep Moldovan workers close to home, stable jobs are critical. And for a developing economy like Moldova’s, small-and-medium-enterprises (SMEs) fill this employment gap, with 63% of employable Moldovans working for an SME. As these businesses grow, the economy adds more local jobs—and fewer people must leave their families and communities.

Yet, credit barriers prevent many small businesses with the potential to provide much-needed jobs from expanding their businesses further. That’s why Invest Credit, HOPE’s microfinance partner in Moldova, equips entrepreneurs with larger loans to help them scale their operations and reach their potential. As these two stories demonstrate, entrepreneurs like Petrov and Sergiu are tackling the challenges of poverty in their communities. Continue Reading…

For years, Mary Msoni sorted through bundles of donated secondhand clothing in Lusaka, Zambia, to resell for a slim margin. Hoping to expand, she started selling new dresses, but her household expenses still left her with little money to invest in her business. Her only options for capital were loan sharks who charged exorbitant interest rates. Continue Reading…

Though Ana Cipriano de Sevedia’s education was cut short at the age of 15 because there were no local high schools in her rural Paraguayan community, her love of learning remained. And she’s working hard to create a different outcome for her three sons. “My dream is that they study [at university], that they become someone in life,” she shares. “I work so hard [for this].” Continue Reading…