Archives For poverty

  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, 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 […]

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by Lauren Sheard, HOPE Burundi Program Manager

Two years ago, soon after I first moved to Burundi, I was chatting with another expatriate I’d just met. Explaining what I do, I described the basic premise of HOPE International’s savings group ministry, how rather than giving out money or goods directly like a traditional charity we’re teaching people how to save their own money to make a difference in their families and communities. I was pleased with my elevator speech but was caught off guard when the expatriate and his Burundian friend laughed! “This is Burundi,” they said. “That sort of thing can’t possibly make a difference. People don’t have anything, and you’re trying to teach them to save? Maybe in a few decades when the country is better off.” And at that, the conversation ended with another laugh and a sarcastic “good luck!”

I am not one to be offended easily, but in that moment I felt rather indignant. Not only is it rude to laugh at what I just said I do and believe in, but to so easily brush off even the thought that Burundians could have skills and abilities to help themselves was discouraging to me. Continue Reading…

“I train lots of people, freely, without asking any money,” Moise said, proudly smiling. “What I have, I give.”

Sitting on white plastic chairs at Moise’s home in the Republic of Congo, I looked out at the fields of newly sprouted cabbages as I mulled over Moise’s words. The grey sky overhead mirrored the heaviness of the conversation as Moise described his considerable challenges—his wife’s deteriorating health, the immense cost of her treatment, losing his loan repayment when a fellow group member left it behind in a taxi. And after this string of hardships, he was still willing to give of his time to train farmers in his community?

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by Jess Bauer, California Development Intern

Last summer, I spent three months in Haiti learning about poverty in a hands-on and often heart-wrenching way. I listened to the stories of new friends and experienced the heartbreaking reality of material poverty.

One afternoon, I met an elderly man in Leveque, a village where families resettled after their homes were destroyed by the 2010 earthquake. A relief agency had distributed blue tarps to Leveque after the earthquake to be used as a temporary shelter. The tarps were designed for only a few months of inhabitance—any longer and the extreme heat could cause eye damage. After living in his tarp home for five years, this man was completely blind.

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Fanny is taking a leap forward

Suddenly raising seven children

When Fanny’s sister passed away, leaving four children behind, the choice was clear—she had to adopt them. Already a single mother, Fanny suddenly found herself the sole provider for seven school-age children.

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As one of Malawi’s 2 million small-scale farmers, Fanny set her mind to working hard, knowing that her efforts meant nourishment for her children. She managed to meet her family’s basic needs but struggled to find money for school fees or even soap. “Some months, I wouldn’t have money at all,” she says.

When Fanny heard about savings groups forming at her church, she recalls, “I was the first to sign up.” Saving small amounts of money with her group, Fanny no longer needed to sell her own family’s food for extra cash. It was the boost she needed to leap forward.

Refusing to give up

When severe flooding in early 2015 rendered 230,000 Malawians homeless, Fanny’s crops and home were washed away. Despite the devastating loss, Fanny quickly moved in with her sister next door and used her savings to launch a side business selling used clothing. Even though she lost everything, she determinedly began to rebuild her home.

Less than a year after the floods, Fanny did something few in her community have been able to afford: she paid to install a water tap next to her home to help with irrigation and household chores.

“I can say this is my testimony,” Fanny says. “Before the savings group, I had no business of my own, and my children were suffering from hunger. But now, I am rebuilding my own house, and my goal is to see my children educated.”

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A place to belong

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Joining the savings group has not only provided financial stability for Fanny; it has brought her closer to God and to friends in her community.  An active member of her church, Fanny leads worship and visits those who are ill or grieving. Eager to give back, Fanny’s savings enable her to bring offerings to church—something she wasn’t able to do before.

Fanny’s savings group has given her a sense of belonging. “My challenges have grown less because I am supported,” she says. “My fellow group members encourage me and pray for me. … Since I joined the group, I’m a more joyful person.”

HOPE GIFT CATALOG

Help entrepreneurs leap forward!

Like Fanny, millions of men and women are bursting with skills and talents but lack access to the financial tools needed to leap forward along the path out of poverty. Choose items from HOPE’s gift catalog to play a role in helping families flourish!

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Free bracelet!

With your donation of $25 or more, you’ll receive a leather bracelet, hand-crafted by Rwandan entrepreneurs!*

*Bracelets are available while supplies last.

Today, thousands will mark their hands with a bright red “X,” demonstrating their commitment to ending modern slavery. Since 2013, the END IT movement, a coalition of leading organizations committed to shining a light on slavery, which can include sex trafficking, bonded labor, and forced labor.

In many countries throughout the HOPE network, we serve a population that is vulnerable to human trafficking and forced labor. Traffickers prey on those living in poverty, and several of the countries in which we work have some of the most prominent human trafficking industries in the world. While HOPE does not work directly with anti-trafficking agencies, our work in poverty alleviation addresses many of the root causes of modern slavery. Our approach is to move upstream from the problem in an attempt to prevent the conditions and vulnerability that traffickers prey on. Here’s how:

1. Jobs create opportunities.
With few options to provide for their families, many people living in poverty willingly enter bonded labor. Or, they are baited with the promise of a job in another country, realizing upon arrival that they’ve been lied to. Even more tragically, families in destitute financial situations are often forced to give up one child to feed the rest of their family.* When families have meaningful work to support themselves, they are spared from making these kinds of decisions.

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