Archives For gift catalog

Gisele

As a young girl, Gisele spent countless hours in her mother’s tailor shop. Eager to imitate her mother’s skill, Gisele would cut up fabrics and design models of her own. With help from her father, Gisele later enrolled in sewing school and eventually opened a tailoring business in Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo. Despite her beautifully elaborate designs, Gisele’s profits weren’t enough to support her family, and she often had to use her business capital for their expenses, jeopardizing her business and stymying progress.

Seeking to diversify her business, Gisele received and repaid seven loans from HOPE Congo over the course of five years to expand her tailoring business by purchasing fabrics, sewing materials, and an electric sewing machine. Ever the entrepreneur, Gisele also used loans to expand into a new business selling smoked fish; small cakes; and foufou, a cassava-based Congolese dish.

Now, she is able to provide for her family using only the profits of her businesses. Reflecting on the impact of her relationship with HOPE Congo, Gisele says:

HOPE is the one who came to give me wings so that I can fly.

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Francoise

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.

Full of entrepreneurial spirit, Francoise and her husband of 11 years, Etienne, know the joy of giving back. Francoise owns a thriving business in Burundi, where she and her four employees create colorfully patterned clothes. “I know how to sew everything,” she exclaims, “but my favorite things to sew are dresses.”

Etienne, also in the textile business, runs a shop in the busy Kamenge Market that sells fabric, thread, and other sewing supplies to the community. Together, they’re raising their five children, aged 2-9, as well as helping care for Francoise’s younger siblings. Six years ago, the couple adopted a sixth child whose parents were unable to care for her.

But even so, Francoise and Etienne didn’t have a safe place to save their money, leaving them few options in the face of unexpected expenses. When Francoise first heard about savings groups in November 2012, she was immediately intrigued by their focus on helping people improve their own lives. She joined the savings group Rukundo, meaning love, and began saving between $1.50 and $3 a month.

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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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Vera

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.

Living in the rural village of Crasnoarmeiscoe, Moldova, Vera Matveiciuc lost her husband several years ago, leaving her to support their three young daughters on her own. To supplement her $100 monthly salary from her job at a local bank, Vera raised produce and livestock to help feed her family and sell the surplus at market.

In Moldova, one of the poorest countries in Europe, poverty is concentrated in rural areas like Vera’s, where many families live without heat, running water, or nutritious food. Three years ago, Vera didn’t think her family would survive another harsh Moldovan winter without the money needed to insulate and heat their home.

That December, Vera learned about Invest-Credit, HOPE’s local partner, and took out a loan to install insulation and a furnace. “The first loan from Invest-Credit saved my family,” she says. “We could not go through another winter without making changes to our home.”

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