Archives For Burundi

Header image: slum neighborhood of Asunción, Paraguay

In the 1990s, the World Bank interviewed more than 60,000 individuals living in low-income countries, asking one primary question: What is poverty?

When asked this question, Western audiences often respond with what those in poverty lack: food, money, clean water, etc. But the families interviewed by the World Bank described poverty in much more multidimensional terms, naming the lack of options, strained relationships, low self-esteem, and feelings of helplessness.

A HOPE staff member once asked a savings group in Rwanda the same question—how do you define poverty? Most of their descriptions framed their experience of poverty as emotional and relational: Continue Reading…

Farmers in rural, agricultural areas of Burundi face a number of challenges unique to their remote location, including limited access to educational opportunities and financial exclusion:

40 percent of Burundian adults living in rural areas qualify as “illiterate*”[1]

5.3 percent of Burundian farmers hold an account with a formal financial institution[2]

Yet it is precisely among underserved communities that Turame Community Finance, HOPE’s microfinance institution in Burundi, seeks to work. Clients living in rural villages hold over 90 percent of Turame’s current outstanding loans.

Unlike a traditional bank, however, Turame’s mission goes beyond financial transactions, offering biblically based business training to its clients, and even to those who do not hold an account.

But Turame had a challenge: how to share robust stewardship training with those who may not only be accessing financial services for the first time, but may also have limited reading skills. Continue Reading…

At HOPE International, we partner with missionary-aligned microfinance institutions, ministries, and churches—equipping them with financial resources, tools, and expertise to reach the underserved in their communities. We do this because Christ-centered microfinance needs many workers. To impact people across the HOPE network, diversity helps us better operate in and impact the diverse world for the Lord.

In 1 Corinthians 12:12, Paul writes,“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.” If the human body is working to accomplish a goal, it is necessary for the different parts of the body to work in unity. The eyes need to communicate with the hands to communicate with the nose. Similarly, if HOPE is working to provide financial services in an area and another like-minded organization is doing the same work, we are much more effective by combining our efforts and working in collaboration and unity. Continue Reading…

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 […]

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by Lauren Sheard, HOPE Burundi Program Manager

Two years ago, soon after I first moved to Burundi, I was chatting with another expatriate I’d just met. Explaining what I do, I described the basic premise of HOPE International’s savings group ministry, how rather than giving out money or goods directly like a traditional charity we’re teaching people how to save their own money to make a difference in their families and communities. I was pleased with my elevator speech but was caught off guard when the expatriate and his Burundian friend laughed! “This is Burundi,” they said. “That sort of thing can’t possibly make a difference. People don’t have anything, and you’re trying to teach them to save? Maybe in a few decades when the country is better off.” And at that, the conversation ended with another laugh and a sarcastic “good luck!”

I am not one to be offended easily, but in that moment I felt rather indignant. Not only is it rude to laugh at what I just said I do and believe in, but to so easily brush off even the thought that Burundians could have skills and abilities to help themselves was discouraging to me. Continue Reading…

When civil war broke out in Burundi in 1993, Edith Uwineza and her family sold their belongings and fled to Tanzania as refugees. It wasn’t until two years later that they were able to return to Burundi and begin life anew. Edith’s husband worked as the supervisor of a construction site and owner of a cement shop, and Edith managed a small roadside stand where she sold green peppers and tomatoes.

Despite her hard work and diligence, Edith found it difficult to earn a sufficient income and lacked the resources to expand her business. After learning about to Turame, HOPE’s local partner, Edith received a $30 loan that enabled her to sell a wider variety of vegetables at her stand. She has since taken out 14 loans, which she has used to diversify her inventory to include non-perishable items and charcoal for cooking. As Edith’s business grew, she began renting out her small kiosk to other vendors and moved to a local market where she could serve more customers.

Recognizing that she will eventually be unable to be as involved with her business as she grows older, Edith is using her sharp mind for business to plan for the future. She wants to purchase land and build a house to rent out, as well as continue her business through hired employees.

Today, Edith is a well-respected member of her community who takes care of five children, her sister, and her orphaned niece. She provides jobs for three families and frequently assists her neighbors in times of need. Edith testifies that through her involvement with Turame she has gained a family. “If I were to praise Turame, I would need to write a book,” she reflects. Seeing that God is the ultimate source of provision, Edith named her business Shimwa Yesu, which means, “Jesus be praised.”

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