Archives For savings groups

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Rather than favoring the religious elite, Jesus chose to spend time with the marginalized. Desiring to emulate our Savior, HOPE has a strategic objective to serve communities that are not open to the Gospel and those that have little access to microenterprise development services. Worldwide, the HOPE network intentionally reaches out to some of the most disenfranchised communities in the countries where we serve.

Serving the Batwa in Burundi

In 2016, HOPE Burundi launched a savings program with the Batwa, an ethnic group that has historically faced discrimination and abuse. Making up less than 2 percent of Burundi’s population, the Batwa rarely own land, and few have access to an education. Many Batwa survive by selling clay pots for less than 3 cents each. Often unwelcome in traditional churches, a large number of Batwa practice animism, a belief system that ascribes spiritual qualities to objects, places, or creatures. Continue Reading…

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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…

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by Chris McCurdy, Former Field Communications Fellow in Zambia

Throughout the course of my time in Zambia, the word that best describes this ministry is “enthusiastic.” Everyone involved with the new Zambia savings and credit association (SCA) ministry is doing their part to advance the Kingdom. This excitement extends from the head office in the capital city of Lusaka all the way to each SCA member within the rural communities we serve. I would like to share just a few short stories of the different types of transformation we’ve seen over the last few months.

Spiritually: Mwilu Sharon

Mwilu

Since joining her savings group, Mwilu shared with me that she has felt a powerful conviction to give back to God, because before it had been difficult to tithe the little she had. She told me:

God is the giver and the help. He is my refuge and is always there for me.

Mwilu said that the spiritual discipline of tithing has been challenging but also rewarding. When she first joined the group, she was only able to save two shares. However, after a few Sundays of tithing, she noticed her cosmetic business was seeing growth and contributed more to her savings group. In just three months’ time, Mwilu went from two shares to five. She gives God the full glory for each increase and shared that her group has been a huge blessing. “When we come, we sing and share devotions. I have a bigger community now.” Continue Reading…

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Jeff Galley serves as central group leader for LifeGroups and missions at Life.Church in Oklahoma City, OK. He and a team from Life.Church recently traveled to India to visit HOPE’s local partner, who is helping to equip churches and underserved communities through savings groups, and to visit Tearfund. In this blog excerpt, he shares about the people he met and what he learned from them about human trafficking. Read the full post on his blog.

Observers estimate there are more than 20 million slaves in India and that one new person is trafficked into slavery every 10 minutes. Some slaves are forced to do manual labor as a house servant or doing hard, backbreaking labor. Some are forced into prostitution. Trafficking isn’t just a problem in India. It’s a global issue, even in my own city.

Continue Reading…

It wasn’t easy for Juvita Cerron to set foot in a church for her first savings group meeting in Comas, Peru. As an unmarried mother expecting her second child, she feared the group would be a place of judgment—but her drive to meet her children’s needs eclipsed her concern for what others might think. As the group welcomed her warmly, their response surprised Juvita: “Through joining a savings group, I found a community that loved me for who I was and reminded me that God loved me too.”

Juvita was still new to the group when her daughter was born three months prematurely. Her savings group embraced her fully, providing support and prayers for her family. After months of constant medical attention, her daughter, Julieta, was near death. Amid crisis, Juvita found new life in Jesus Christ, putting her trust in His faithfulness rather than the relationships or alcohol on which she once relied. Despite doctors’ warnings that her daughter might never fully recover, Juvita rejoices that the Lord miraculously healed her, and now, two years later, Julieta is strong and healthy.

Investing in dreams

Before becoming a mother, Juvita spent two years studying administration at the university level. When she withdrew from college to care for her first child, she had no income and relied entirely on support from her family and her son’s father. She didn’t know how to break the cycle of dependency and provide for her own children—though she longed to do so. Continue Reading…

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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…