Archives For microfinance

Each year, HOPE celebrates clients who demonstrate our values of perseverance, compassion, character, and creativity by announcing the Thurman Award winner. Established in honor of HOPE’s first CEO, 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 Peter, this year’s runner up for microfinance institutions!

After a severe case of measles left him blind at age 8, Peter felt he had limited options for his future. In a culture where blindness is highly stigmatized, many blind people are vulnerable to living as beggars. To support their three children, Peter and his wife, Mukanziza—who also lost her sight due to measles as a child—decided to start a business building rental properties.

Prejudiced by his disability, every bank he and Mukaniza approached for a loan turned them down. And that’s when Peter learned of Urwego Bank, HOPE’s microfinance bank in Rwanda.

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Each year, HOPE celebrates clients who demonstrate our values of perseverance, compassion, character, and creativity by announcing the Thurman Award winner. Established in honor of HOPE’s first CEO, 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 Andonie, this year’s winner of microfinance programs!

A member of the Mandaya tribe, one of nearly 200 indigenous people groups in the Philippines, Andonie Digaynon grew up in a culture where education wasn’t highly valued. Not only was the school a long, difficult walk from his rural home, but his family needed him to help earn money. As a result, Andonie dropped out of school after the second grade.

But Andonie hasn’t let his limited education hold him back. Continue Reading…

By Chris Horst, Vice President of Development

If you attended a HOPE event in the fall, you likely heard us describe the 950,000 men and women HOPE and our partners serve around the world. Yet, when you read our 2017 annual report, you’ll see we report serving 838,000 people at the end of 2017. While we have adjusted our numbers substantially, we did not technically lose these clients. We made this change because we believe in reporting field data with the highest levels of integrity, even if it means reporting unfavorable news.

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At 17 years old in the Republic of Congo, Francoise Koudziomina found herself in a predicament: After discovering she was pregnant, her relationship fell apart, leaving her as a single mother and forcing her to drop out of school.

Just two years later, Francoise’s mother died, leaving her as the caretaker for her younger brother, who was the same age as her son. As 19-year-old Francoise scrambled to provide for two toddlers, she made herself a promise: One day, she’d provide for other young, single mothers in situations like hers.

From a young age, Francoise had loved to knit, and in 1997, she opened a business selling clothing for babies and toddlers. With her natural skill, Francoise worked tenaciously to provide for her brother and son. While Francoise was always able to make ends meet, she lived in a state of constant stress about making enough money to meet their needs.

After taking out a loan with a large microfinance institution to invest in her business, Francoise realized that she required more than just financial backing. To really move her business forward, she needed additional training in finance and business practices. Continue Reading…

Kerline Jean Louis

“Before I was part of the savings group, I wasn’t smiling.”

Kerline Jean Louis’ small restaurant is located alongside the bustling highway in Haiti that connects her rural town of Jeanton II with the capital city of Port-au-Prince. The business is perfectly positioned to appeal to the hungry travelers riding the colorful taxis (known affectionately as tap taps), buses, and motorcycles passing by.

A true businesswoman, Kerline likes to adjust her menu according to customer preferences: “It’s really based on demand—some people like grits, some people like rice and beans,” she explains. But before joining a savings group last year, she didn’t have money to purchase the ingredients required to make her most popular dishes. Without reliable access to the necessary ingredients, her business position became precarious.

Then, Kerline’s landlord unexpectedly announced he’d be selling her home; if she wanted to stay there, she’d have to purchase it for the 25,000 gourdes ($388 USD) he was asking for it. As a widow and single mother of three, Kerline is the sole provider for her household. She already struggled to have enough to pay for food, school fees, and rent—there was no way she could afford to buy her home outright. Moving elsewhere offered challenges, too; her home is situated just across the street from her restaurant, and the thought of leaving a space that had been a source of comfort and stability following her husband’s death was difficult to consider.

Kerline and her children were facing the possibility of homelessness.

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Therese Mukabera

By Sarah Ann Schultz, Marketing Communications Specialist

When Therese Mukabera received her first loan from Urwego Bank, HOPE’s microfinance institution in Rwanda, she decided to start a business burning bricks, weatherproofing them to withstand Rwanda’s heavy rains.

But as a woman attempting to enter a traditionally male profession, she found herself encountering roadblocks to formally starting her business. Day after day, Therese watched men around her receive the necessary permissions to form their enterprises. And day after day, she was passed over, hampered by the common belief that brick burning was men’s work.

Around the world, life is often harder for women than for their brothers, husbands, and sons. Women are less likely to be formally employed than men—and when they are, women are often paid less. Women shoulder greater responsibility for housework, food preparation, water collection, and childcare. Less than 20 percent of the world’s landowners are women. When natural disasters strike, more women die than men.

But here’s the good news: When women are empowered, things change.

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