Archives For savings and credit association

After starting a mushroom business in Harare, Zimbabwe, Raymond Chengata dreamed of expanding his business beyond the local market. But with the cost of taking loans from the bank, he couldn’t access supplies that would allow him to continue growing his business.

In addition to this financial barrier, Raymond’s business dream was further challenged by costly setbacks when a disease killed most of the mushroom crop. Continue Reading…

Celestin, his wife, Gaudance, and their eight children (three pictured above) live in the hills surrounding Gasharu, Rwanda. They beam with joy as they welcome guests to their home, proudly presenting produce from their farm and the squealing piglets and livestock they raise. A few years ago, such a welcome would have been impossible.

“We were poor on the outside, but also on the inside, because poverty starts in the heart,” says Celestin. For many years he struggled with alcoholism, using the little money his family had in bars and brothels. Feeling abandoned and angry because of her husband’s unfaithfulness, Gaudance also turned to alcohol. She remembers, “My heart was full of sorrow. I couldn’t help my children. … Sometimes I would go into the bars to fight with those prostitutes. But all those things brought only more conflict and poverty.” Continue Reading…

Sylvie Somerville, program advisor for HOPE’s Malawi savings and credit association program, recently wrote a reflection on her experience in Malawi for the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics blog. Reposted here with permission.

Children in Malawi

“Give me money! Give me money!”

I was on my first mountain bike ride through Malawi, high above the capital city of Lilongwe, traversing dry, dusty hills and a winter landscape dotted with villages.

I’ve been distressed by the absolute poverty of these villages many times, but this repeated cry from these children hit me particularly hard. They don’t speak English in these villages, so this is likely one of the only English phrases the kids know.

Cute, bright-eyed children. I wanted to find this moment endearing, being chased through Malawian villages by swarms of little children. This should have been a classic Instagram opportunity.

But it broke my heart.
Continue Reading…