Archives For Dominican Republic

Miguelina Padilla

Each year, HOPE celebrates clients who demonstrate HOPE’s values of perseverance, compassion, character, and creativity by announcing the Thurman Award. Established in honor of HOPE’s first CEO and his wife, the Thurman Award celebrates clients who have not only experienced change in their own lives but have also extended that transformation to others in their community. We’re excited to share the story of Miguelina, this year’s honorable mention from Latin America!

On any given day, Miguelina Padilla’s home is a flurry of activity. She operates a busy hair salon and used clothing and shoe store, occupying the front of her home, while the church Miguelina and her husband started a few years ago meets on the side. The church also hosts community bank meetings for Esperanza International, HOPE’s partner in the Dominican Republic.

A strong foundation

Having previously lost her home and business when the space her family rented was sold, Miguelina understands the value of stable home ownership. When the Padillas built their own home in 2008, they could not afford to install a roof, electricity, or a bathroom. But Miguelina dreamed of improving their home and reopening her hair salon, and she says Esperanza came at the right time. She used small loans to purchase salon products and equipment, declaring, “I’m going to work now, doing what I know how to do.”

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In this one-minute field report, Annie Ansley, field communications fellow, shares about the joy she saw in women as they worship together in a repayment meeting through Esperanza International, HOPE’s partner in the Dominican Republic.

Clients

by Annie Ansley, Field Communications Fellow in the Dominican Republic

I am blessed to get the chance to interview clients almost every week, and what they share never fails to surprise or inspire me. They’ve already taught me more than I could ever learn from simply being in the office. One thing I like to find out is their favorite part of being a client of Esperanza, HOPE’s partner in the Dominican Republic. Incredibly, they hardly ever mention the money. Check out what clients told me they value most…

“The devotional”

Many say that learning about God is by far the most important feature of Esperanza: The group Bible studies, prayer, and praise songs have brought them closer to God or taught them a specific lesson.

Hearing about Abraham and Isaac, Miguelina was inspired to sacrifice her profits for her church. Hearing the story of the widow and the oil, Angela learned the importance of working diligently at her bakery. When Carolina went to her very first bank meeting, she was going through an economic crisis in her family. Her loan officer spoke on Psalm 37, which sparked Carolina’s desire to return to God and renew her trust in Him.

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Luis

Join HOPE in celebrating the clients featured in this year’s gift catalog, men and women using the gifts God has placed in their hands—talents, dreams, and hard work—to provide for their families and give back to their communities.

Luis has always considered himself an entrepreneur, selling construction materials while also working as a repairman and construction worker. One night, in a dream, his pastor challenged him, “Why don’t you start a business right in front of your house?” With his understanding of the materials needed for construction projects, Luis felt confirmed in his vision to open a hardware store. He would need startup capital, but he knew God would provide—He’d been faithful before.

Faithfulness and forgiveness

Luis grew up in a batey—a settlement of predominantly Haitian migrant laborers—working alongside his father in the sugar cane fields around San Pedro, Dominican Republic. When he was 6, his mother left their family. Often neglected by his father, Luis prayed fervently, “God, I need to leave. … Please help me.” At just 11 years old, Luis left to apprentice as a construction worker in a nearby town. He worked hard and learned to survive, but life changed completely when, as a young adult, he became a Christian. As his faith grew, he felt God calling him to find and forgive his father, now blind. Luis attributes this to Christ’s work in his life, saying, “It is God who allows us to forgive.”

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by Alisa Hoober, Recruitment and Retention Manager

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic to visit HOPE’s local partner, Esperanza International, and hear clients tell their stories. Early one morning, we drove down a dirt path along the Rio Chavon, which separates plush villas on one side of the river and the poorest of the poor on the other side, to the village of Boca de Chavon within the region of La Romana. We were there to visit a group of 10 women who have named their group “The Power of Israel.”

We quietly observed the group’s loan meeting, watching the 5W’s (welcome, worship, Word, work, wrap-up) in action, and admired the leadership of the Esperanza staff member, Vladimir. When the meeting was over, we had an opportunity to meet the women and hear about their businesses. Our group was eager to learn about why they joined the group and what made their businesses successful.

We asked our translator to please ask the group of women what has been the biggest difference in their lives since joining this group. The question was translated, and there were a variety of different answers from the group, including increased inventory for their business, improvements to their homes, and increased ability to feed their families. Then, Isabelle, one of the founding members of the group, stood up. She was a quiet women but received the attention of the group. They silenced as she spoke with conviction. She said:

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by Brant Wilson, Seventh Grader and Experience HOPE Trip Participant

In January, Doug and Amy Wilson traveled with their three sons—Brant (11), Sam (9), and Nate (8)—to the Dominican Republic on an Experience HOPE Trip to learn more as a family about global poverty and ways to address it. Since returning from the D.R., Brant (pictured above, second from left) has spoken on a number of occasions about his experience, and here he shares how the trip shaped his perspective on poverty.

In January of this year, my family and I were sitting in our airplane in Indianapolis, waiting for takeoff. We were first going to fly to New York, then from there we would go to the Dominican Republic. At this point our whole family didn’t really know what to expect, or at least I know I didn’t. It was as if we were about to walk into a cave. We knew we were going in, and we knew nothing bad would happen, but we couldn’t see what was in there. We were venturing into the unknown.

wilson-family-eddWhile in the D.R. we were transported in an old school bus. We traveled on dirt roads, feeling every ditch and crevice, and headed to our first bank meeting. As we pulled into the town, I was shocked by the poverty. Every floor literally was dirt, and the roofs were made out of that wavily bent metal that you pretty much only see on roofs of small huts. As we came to a stop, many Dominican children peered into the windows of our bus, some jumping up and down in excitement. As we were exiting the bus, I remarked to my mom, “I thought this was only in the movies.”

This brings me to my second point. The people we met in the D.R. are, in many ways, very different than us. We don’t ever really see poverty like that, except in the movies. None of us have to worry about the kitchen floor turning to mud every time it rains or all the flies on our food. One of the biggest things that I noticed, though, was how similar we are. Before I went there, I guess I didn’t really view them as people; I viewed them more as numbers. But when I was with Dominicans and heard them speak and saw them play and learn at school, I realized that there really isn’t much difference between myself and them. They all have passions, hobbies, personalities, dreams, and hope. Yes, hope!

This was, I thought, the most amazing part of the trip. No one I met was in despair at their conditions. They all had hope. They all were ready for change, and they all knew what it would take. They knew they would have to work, and they knew it would be hard, but they knew they could do it. This is something we–we who think we have everything compared to them–need. No one I have ever met has had such a beautiful desire in their heart for anything. So next time you look at a chart about poverty, or hear someone talk about how much you have compared to those people, I encourage you not to think about them as numbers, but as people, people that you could probably learn a lesson from. A lesson about hope.

Visit HOPE’s website to learn more about how you and your family can participate in a similar Experience HOPE Trip.

brant-wilsonBrant Wilson is a seventh grader at The Oaks Academy, a Christ-centered school in Indianapolis, IN, that is intentionally racially and economically diverse. He loves music, writing, and most of all, his friends.