Archives For Microfinance

In her eyes was deep pain and loss. There was a strength about her, a certain inexcusable confidence, and yet behind it lay an undeniable burden. She smiled a smile that exuded love and sincere delight in welcoming me and my friends into her home. I knew she was going to tell us the story of her experience during the genocide in April of 1994, but I had no comprehension of the drastic impact it would have on me, nor the strength it would require her to simply share.

Her story was graphic. The details feel almost too horrific to recount or to write down, and yet she declared to us as she closed: “Please tell my story because I know it will help someone else in their life; we have to learn from each other.” And so, I will share a bit of her journey in the hopes that retelling it will move my heart and the hearts of those that read it towards deeper compassion.

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Recently, I was in Lima, Peru, visiting a savings and credit association (SCA) partnership launched nearly two years ago. For those building their knowledge in the field of microeconomic development, SCAs are small groups of people that meet regularly to hear a message of reconciliation, save small amounts of money, and live life together—the unique blending of a tiny credit union and a Sunday school class. Members learn about reconciliation available through Christ and how to save money toward a goal. In short, members are given the tools they need to feel hope again, hope for a better future. Here is a brief description of one such SCA group meeting I was able to attend on this trip.

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savings clients in India

Written by Anna Pasquali of Live58. Originally published on the Live58 blog.

Let’s start by making a list of all that we know microenterprise development can do:

  1. Give opportunities to have a steady income
  2. Teach useful skills
  3. Teach the value of saving and record-keeping
  4. Help send children to school
  5. Start a small business
  6. Invest in future goals
  7. Help support entire communities
  8. Establish dignity
  9. Provide nutrition
  10. Enable the poor to provide for themselves

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When Tom Rakabopa and Central Baptist Church first reached out to families living in poverty in Harare, Zimbabwe, they distributed food and other items to fill the great needs they saw in their community. But as he saw some of the unintended consequences of this work, Tom began dreaming of ways they could transition to long-term development. That dream came true when a partnership with HOPE International helped Central Baptist Church begin savings and credit associations (SCAs) in their community, training groups of individuals to save their own money as a safety net in emergencies, to start or expand a business, and to pay routine expenses like school fees.

 

 

The battle rages on. Across the globe, forces for good assault a great evil–human traffickers. Ruthless, shifty and complex, our formidable opponent lurks in red-light districts and shantytowns.

“More children, women and men are held in slavery right now than over the course of the entire trans-Atlantic slave trade…generating profits in excess of 32 billion dollars a year [GDP of Costa Rica] for those who, by force and deception, sell human lives into slavery and sexual bondage. Nearly 2 million children [population of Houston] are exploited in the commercial sex industry.”  International Justice Mission  (IJM)

Leaders rally coalitions to combat villains who perpetrate these crimes on innocent children. Pioneers like IJM and Not For Sale convene activists and churches to fight this injustice. Together, they bring freedom to the darkest corners of our world. I pray these organizations grow. I pray justice is served. I rejoice with each girl whose chains of bondage break. And, I mourn to think of the many who are not yet free.

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On my trip to the Philippines, I was privileged to visit microfinance client meetings with HOPE’s partner CCT. Microfinance is CCT’s largest ministry, and senior leaders refer to it as the “backbone” or “platform” on which their other outreach programs reside. We visited groups in a poor section of Manila near the national prison. Our first meeting was with “Fellowship Group 23,” a group of 19 women (joined by two kids, a cat, and a rooster), all dressed in red shirts to show solidarity with one another.

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