Archives For farming

Around the world, HOPE-network clients are accessing financial services to grow their businesses. Join us in celebrating the ways these hardworking men and women are using their gifts, abilities, and creativity to support their families and impact their communities.
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Jacob and his wife

Each year, we celebrate clients who demonstrate HOPE’s values of perseverance, compassion, character, and creativity by announcing Thurman Award winners. 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 this year’s honorable mention from Eastern Europe: Jacob Timos.

Over 10 years ago, Jacob Timos used his first loan from HOPE’s partner in Moldova, Invest-Credit, to open a rabbit-breeding business. He started with just six rabbits, and with additional support from Invest-Credit, he has significantly grown the business, selling rabbits to customers as far away as Germany.

Recently, Jacob bought more land and started growing raspberries in partnership with another Invest-Credit client. He says, “Without loans from Invest-Credit I wouldn’t have been able to start my business and grow to the level where I am now.” Jacob has referred over 200 clients to Invest-Credit! Operating a sustainable business in an area where many struggle to make ends meet, Jacob is an inspiration to his neighbors, who often ask him for insights on good business development. To help others provide for their families, Jacob has given away rabbits so that they can start their own rabbit-breeding businesses.

As a pastor, Jacob is passionate about seeing Christians in his community reflect the Gospel in their work, saying, “So many believers run businesses here, create jobs for others, and provide services. … Pray that people will turn to God here in Straseni. … That they would come to faith and know Jesus. That is the most important thing. ”

Jean

After her husband died nearly 10 years ago, Jean began growing and selling assorted vegetables to provide for her seven children. In Malawi, where 88 percent of the population lives on less than $2 a day, Jean often struggled to put food on the table or pay school fees.

When Jean’s church began training groups of people to save money together, she became one of the founding members of Chivumbulutso, meaning “Revelation,” savings group. A proud pioneer of this ministry, Jean describes the financial and spiritual transformation she has experienced: “I became a Christian a long time ago and have been reading the Bible since my youth days, but it had never occurred to me that the Scripture can help me on financial matters.”

Prior to joining the savings group, Jean struggled to manage her finances, remaining in constant debt. Now, saving approximately $2 each week, she owns a piece of land for farming and has hired several workers. Jean dreams of growing her business and opening a grocery store.

Her spiritual life has also flourished through prayer and meditation on the Word of God. “My knowledge and understanding of the Scriptures as the living Word of God speaking directly to me has increased greatly through the sharing of the Word and experiences which we have at our group every time we meet,” Jean explains. Now, she views communication with God as a two-way street, saying, “God speaks directly to me through His Word while I speak directly to Him through prayer.”

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Anasitaziya

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 Anasitaziya, this year’s honorable mention from Africa!

The challenges nearly-80-year-old Anasitaziya Kankwanzi has overcome would be enough for several lifetimes. In her 30s, Anasitaziya’s eyesight began to falter. Doctors provided little help, but she retained enough vision to function independently. Two decades later, when she was nearly 60 years old, her husband was killed in the Rwandan genocide, leaving Anasitaziya as one of nearly 50,000 widows in the nation. Anasitaziya survived the genocide hidden in a dark room. When she finally stepped out into the light, her vision was gone. “I had gone completely blind,” she recounts.

Pressing on

Anasitaziya’s life has been marked by determination and hope. Though widowed and blind, she resumed her farming career by hiring workers to dig and plant for her. Despite her hard work, there were some who took advantage of Anasitaziya’s vulnerability, pilfering her crops to feed their livestock or stealing from her home.

Even in hardship, Anasitaziya never succumbed to despair or stopped working to improve her life. Instead, she takes her needs to the great Provider. “I never lose hope. I am comforted by the Word of God. I know God is with me. … My God is really faithful. He does not let me suffer.”

Never alone

When a church leader invited Anasitaziya to join a savings group in 2011, she liked the idea. Though her farm provided enough to pay her workers and meet her most basic needs, Anasitaziya saw many ways in which her life could improve as a savings group member. Her home was gradually crumbling, with stones falling from her walls every day, but it would take a lump sum—which she had never had—to reinforce the structure. “I know I can do anything through Christ, so I joined others and we started saving,” Anasitaziya remembers.

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“I’m proud to be a farmer,” says Moise, walking between rows of vibrant green cabbages on his farm outside Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. Where some might only see manual labor, Moise has learned that with patience—and attentive cultivation along the way—an abundant harvest is not only possible, it’s profitable. Even when his farm was destroyed during Congo’s civil war, he held fast to his farming vision. Fourteen years later, as he smiles and holds up the fruits of his labor, it’s evident the opportunity to continue farming is more than just a property regained—it’s a dream come true.

Moise has farmed since the 1970s. After completing his secondary school education, Moise took a rare opportunity for most Congolese and studied agronomy in neighboring Cameroon. Coming from a family with little means to pay for his education, he worked hard to support himself during this time. Later, after returning to Congo, he started a farming cooperative. It proved difficult, with many farmers dropping out. In 2000, the ongoing civil war forced Moise to abandon his farm and home. Continue Reading…

As we approach the town of Kamenka (KAH-men-kuh) on a busy two-lane road, we pass dozens of trucks going the other way carrying fruits and vegetables. Some of these trucks are transporting produce to local and regional markets in surrounding cities like Zaporozhye, but there are larger refrigerated trucks that are traveling as far away as Kyiv and Moscow.

I’m traveling with Andre Barkov, the managing director of HOPE’s microfinance institution in Ukraine, and Natasha Kurilenko, the director of marketing for HOPE Ukraine. We are traveling to Kamenka to visit our local branch, witness the greenhouse economy that has developed, and understand the ways that HOPE Ukraine’s loans are providing a catalyst for economic development in the region.    Continue Reading…