Archives For Rwanda

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 Sixbert, this year’s runner up for savings group programs!

Living on just $60 each month, Sixbert Nteziryayo struggled to afford rent and other basic needs for his family. After getting behind and missing several rent payments in a row, Sixbert, his wife, and their seven children were evicted from their home in Rwanda. Needing to provide shelter for his family, Sixbert faced the challenge of finding a new way to generate income. Continue Reading…

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.

Continue Reading…

In 2009, a group of women in Kirehe, Rwanda, began meeting together. All of them had lost their husbands, but the reason behind their husbands’ absence couldn’t have been more vastly different. Some had lost their husbands as victims of the Rwandan genocide 15 years earlier; others had husbands serving prison sentences as perpetrators of the genocide’s violence. At a time when great fear and hatred existed between ethnic groups, the women’s act of gathering together across ethnic lines was revolutionary.

When their church introduced the savings group program through HOPE International in 2011, the women decided to start saving together, naming their group Abavandimwe, an affectionate Kinyarwandan term for “siblings.” Continue Reading…

Serafina

“My whole life, I had never had a job or done anything to get money to feed myself and my family. I would just go dig out in [a neighbor’s] field then get food for me and my family,” Serafina recalls. “For some reason, I thought that was enough, and I thought that’s how life was meant to be.”

Continue Reading…

When I think about some of the most meaningful moments from Christmases past, it occurs to me that most of them involve music. Whether it be putting up garlands to the rich tones of the Robert Shaw Chamber Singers, whispering the melody of “Silent Night” at the end of a Christmas Eve candlelight service, or cajoling my sister into playing duets from our old Christmas piano recitals, there’s something about music that can make even the simplest moment sacred, that can tell a story more powerfully than speech, that can bring splendor and wonder and awe and joy.

So perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that when the Lord wanted people to know about the birth of His son, He sent a choir.

This year, as Christmas nears, I’m expanding my holiday playlist. Friends from across the HOPE network took a moment to share the songs—both reverent and lighthearted—that they most enjoy, and their recommendations helped create this special HOPE Christmas playlist.

Please join me—and HOPE’s partners, clients, and staff around the world—in celebrating the coming of the Newborn King!

Continue Reading…

by Christine Baingana, CEO of Urwego Bank

As the CEO of Urwego Bank, the largest microfinance institution in the HOPE network—and in the country of Rwanda—Christine Baingana shares what she’s learning about leadership while leading a team of over 300 staff.

I first learned of HOPE International after reconnecting with Peter Greer, HOPE’s president and CEO, while I was in graduate school. I had met Peter in the early 2000s while I was working for a large commercial bank in my home country of Rwanda and he was serving as the managing director of Urwego Bank. As we reconnected, Peter shared about the work he was doing through HOPE International—and asked if I wanted to join him.

In 2010, I joined the HOPE International team as the savings and credit association (SCA) specialist, later going on to serve as the Africa SCA regional director. When HOPE became a majority stakeholder in Urwego Bank in 2016, I was asked to step into the role of CEO. Having been on the board for several years, I knew that this would be a challenging time to lead the organization. I felt unqualified to lead such a large team through such a major transition.

But as I sought counsel from others, they reminded me to think of those Urwego could serve, men and women who have not had many of the privileges and advantages that I have. As I took my eyes off of myself and focused on them, I chose to say yes to this opportunity. It’s exciting to know we are changing lives for the Kingdom, that men and women who come to Urwego for a small loan, or to find a safe place to save, will have the opportunity to overcome poverty and experience a closer relationship with the Lord and their community members.

Here are five of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned on this leadership journey:

Continue Reading…