Archives For Philippines

2017-Best_7

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, 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 Asia: Gemma Vasquez.

When digital photography began growing in the Philippines, the small photography studio where Gemma Vasquez’s husband worked quickly went out of business. Scrambling to find other work, Gemma and her husband soon landed on a new business venture: selling popcorn.

Continue Reading…

DSC_9533

By Lydia Koehn, Field Communications Fellow

While HOPE International works in a variety of locations around the world, many groups follow a similar 5W’s meeting structure. Adopted from HOPE’s partner in the Philippines, The Center for Community Transformation (CCT), this simple structure ensures consistency, while also creating space for flexibility. Traveling with CCT savings group facilitators for the past four months, I’ve enjoyed experiencing the unique heart that Filipinos bring to their own culture of savings communities.

2:15 p.m. – After unsticking ourselves from the small motorcycle, the three of us—savings program regional coordinator, volunteer facilitator, and me—begin gingerly descending the sharp rocks, down to the edge of the sea. We pick our way through the narrow path of the fishing village, dodging crowing roosters and scampering children.

2:30 p.m. – We arrive just as the savings group’s treasurer squats down beside a rusty, peg-legged wooden table. I gratefully slip into a sliver of shade and look around at the houses perched precariously on wooden stilts that buckle on the rocks below. Tucked into the shadows beneath their homes, several savings group members sit, smiling back at me while waiting patiently for the meeting to start. Continue Reading…

CCT MFI

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 Asia: Danilo Papalid.

When his ice cream business didn’t do well, Danilo saw an opportunity to capitalize on a new Filipino food trend selling siomai, a tasty Chinese dumpling. He says, “Unlike with ice cream, siomai sales are high in cold or hot weather because people eat it on its own, as a snack, or paired with rice for lunch and supper.”

Launching this new business with his personal savings and loans from HOPE’s local partner, CCT, Danilo developed his own dumpling recipe and dipping sauces, using local ingredients he can get year-round. With a delicious, convenient product, Danilo’s business has now expanded to 12 mobile vendors, each selling siomai around their city. Danilo is grateful for CCT’s Christ-centered trainings and meetings, saying, “Because we listen to God’s Word frequently, we have been drawn closer to Him.”

Knowing God’s provision in his life, Danilo has shared with others the same opportunities he received through CCT. He invited ice cream vendors he used to work with to join his business, providing them with much more stable incomes. Even as he’s prospered and become more financially stable, Danilo is also excited about his spiritual impact. He says, “The impact of CCT on our spiritual lives has been great! Because of the weekly Bible studies, we have been able to invite our workers to go to church with us, and their lives have been transformed.”

DSC_4396

by Lydia Koehn, Field Communications Fellow

Last week, I traveled to the Philippine island of Mindoro to join a training of savings group facilitators with the Center for Community Transformation (CCT), HOPE International’s local partner in the Philippines.

download (7)More than half of the 46 trainees were pastors from the Mangyan Tribal Churches Association, a group of indigenous churches using savings groups to address both the material and spiritual needs of their communities. Over the course of three days, I was delighted and encouraged by the expertise and faith of Ate Goldie and Ate Luvin, Ate meaning sister in Filipino, who are the leaders of CCT’s savings and credit association program. As I embraced the warmth of the Filipino culture, I discovered a few steps to inspiring the facilitators of future savings groups for the transformation of their communities.

The following are what I found to be the keys to a successful training:

1. Flexibility

When we arrived for the first day of training at 8 a.m., there was no one to be found at the open-air concrete building of the Mangyan Tribal Churches Association. We soon learned that the representatives of the Mangyan churches from the surrounding areas had understood the first day as an optional arrival and the official start to be the next day. So we transitioned into plans for beginning the next day, using the extra time to get to know the pastors from the nearby neighborhoods. Continue Reading…

Digna

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 Digna, this year’s honorable mention from Asia!

It took three visits from a savings facilitator before Digna Nibay was convinced to join a savings group through the Center for Community Transformation (CCT), HOPE’s partner in the Philippines. She says she had never before saved a single centavo, and it took some persuading to convince the mother of six that she could. Digna and her husband had a combined income of just over $13 a day, which barely covered food, water, electricity, transportation to work, and school expenses for the couple’s children. When income fluctuations disrupted the family’s day-to-day life, Digna was forced to borrow small sums from neighbors or relatives to cover everyday expenses. These experiences showed her the benefit of personal savings: Digna just needed to create some margin to save.

When Digna agreed to join the group, she was committed, and she became not only a member but the group’s president. Saving was a challenge, and a number of the group’s initial members dropped out during the first round—but those who persisted remarkably saved over $150 each by the end of the first year. As her community saw the outcome, Digna’s group began to gain momentum, tripling in size by its second year. Now in its fourth year-long cycle, each group member saves $5.60 a week.

Leaps of faith

For most of her adult life, Digna worked in the laundry industry, a bustling business in the tourist community of Tagaytay, where she lives. After just a year in the savings group, Digna took a leap of faith and launched her own laundry business. A year later, she led her group into a joint business venture—beginning a laundry business that serves a large retreat center nearby. The business has created 44 jobs for washers, ironers, and delivery workers. Though Digna could have hired employees and kept more profits for herself, she instead invited group members to be co-owners, evidencing her generous spirit.  “When blessings come my way, I want to share them,” she says.

Continue Reading…

CCT Bible study

by Becca Spradlin, Microfinance Training and Quality Manager

Discipleship. Jesus called all believers to “go and make disciples of all nations” in Matthew 28:19. Yet while I saw others practicing discipleship, I wasn’t always sure how to start in my own life. Discipleship seemed like a formal, ambiguous process, easy to excuse away in the busyness of life. If I’m honest, I’ve found myself thinking, “I work for a Christ-centered microenterprise development organization—isn’t that enough?” Yet I knew it wasn’t.

Working with the network of programs and partner organizations at HOPE, I see how we encourage discipleship with our staff and clients, but I also believe it’s something God calls all Christians to do in our personal lives. But the barriers to beginning this process were pretty high until I visited CCT, our partner in the Philippines.

CCT training

CCT has prayerfully and sacrificially integrated discipleship into its operational model. Staff disciple staff. Staff disciple volunteers in the community who disciple others in the community. I got to see firsthand generations of disciples. I heard case after case of, “I was discipled by that woman and am discipling this other woman.”

It was inspiring, but practically, how do you begin discipling others or being discipled yourself? Below are 10 pieces of practical advice from seasoned CCT disciplers that apply to us living in the U.S. as much as it does to those living in the Philippines. Continue Reading…