Archives For market vendor

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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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When I traveled to Ukraine last January, I was unprepared for several things. The first was the below-zero temperatures, as the country experienced its coldest winter in years. When I arrived bundled in the warmest clothes I owned, I was roundly scolded by our local staff for not listening to their advice to bring warm clothing—as they loaned me something more suitable.

The other surprise came more gradually as I talked with staff and clients and realized the impact of widespread corruption and fraud on people’s perceptions of the future. That the government and its laws would actively obstruct its citizens was expected, a given, and it changed the way people spoke about their dreams.

Oksana

When I talked with Oksana, for example, she proudly told me of how she had used HOPE’s loans to successfully expand her small market stall selling coffee and tea. She now had two stalls and employed one person, and she’d used her profits to send her daughter to college and make improvements to her home.

But when I asked her about the future, she said she’d have to move to another country in order to fulfill her dream of opening a small coffee shop. Ukraine’s current economic and political situation, she explained, would make opening her own shop nearly impossible.

I’ve been thinking of this lately as I read about the protests in Ukraine over the government’s decision not to sign an agreement with the European Union. HOPE has a long history in Ukraine—it’s where we first started distributing loans 16 years ago. We’ve seen men and women exhibit ingenuity, determination, and hard work as they seek to provide for their families despite the corruption and uncertainty.

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Bertin Jonas Kihoulou

When Bertin Jonas Kihoulou started his business selling bags and sandals in 1996, he had only $20 worth of merchandise. While he worked hard to improve his business, it wasn’t enough to fulfill his dreams of providing his three children with a better education and improving his family’s housing. So when he heard about HOPE Congo, Bertin decided to take out a loan, which he used to buy a greater variety of bags. Now he makes up to $50 a day and has plans to eventually sell in bulk to other shop owners. Along with the loan, Bertin appreciates HOPE Congo’s honesty and friendliness and refers many of his friends to HOPE.