Archives For savings

Evaristi and his wife are raising three children together, sharing faith in Christ and mutual respect for each other. But it wasn’t always this way. “I used to have conflicts with my wife,” remembers Evaristi. “Then with the help of the [savings] group, I became humble and reconciled with my wife. Now we live in peace as a happy family.”

To provide for their family, Evaristi has always performed many small jobs around his home in rural Rwanda, digging for other people and lifting heavy loads. But often, with this unpredictable income, Evaristi would ask neighbors to help his family make ends meet. This led him to often feel helpless, and he gained a reputation in the community as an angry man with a bent toward violence. Continue Reading…

by Lauren Sheard, HOPE Burundi Program Manager

Last month, a new report hit the proverbial newsstands, ranking the countries of the world in order of happiness. My native United States ranked 13th, but my new adoptive home of Burundi came in dead last. Or, for the glass-half-full people, first in sadness.

How could Burundi be the saddest country in the world? Even lower than war-torn Syria? I have only lived here a couple of years, but my image of Burundi is not one particularly marked by downcast faces or depression. Continue Reading…

Reposted from www.peterkgreer.com

This week is the 75th birthday of Muhammad Yunus, the inspiring leader who asked a question which struck at the root of a paternalistic approach to poverty alleviation: Why do for people what they’re capable of doing for themselves?

This question served as the basis of Yunus’ groundbreaking work in the 1970s as he founded the Grameen Bank; pioneered the modern microfinance movement; and garnered some impressive recognition, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and a Nobel Peace Prize.

Hundreds of thousands (myself included) have been inspired by the model of microfinance and signed up to help unleash women’s and men’s creativity around the world.

But recently there have been articles and thoughtful research projects critiquing this tool. Does this recent criticism undermine the microfinance movement? Does it unravel all that Yunus envisioned and that many of us have worked to implement?

Continue Reading…

Clients

by Annie Ansley, Field Communications Fellow in the Dominican Republic

I am blessed to get the chance to interview clients almost every week, and what they share never fails to surprise or inspire me. They’ve already taught me more than I could ever learn from simply being in the office. One thing I like to find out is their favorite part of being a client of Esperanza, HOPE’s partner in the Dominican Republic. Incredibly, they hardly ever mention the money. Check out what clients told me they value most…

“The devotional”

Many say that learning about God is by far the most important feature of Esperanza: The group Bible studies, prayer, and praise songs have brought them closer to God or taught them a specific lesson.

Hearing about Abraham and Isaac, Miguelina was inspired to sacrifice her profits for her church. Hearing the story of the widow and the oil, Angela learned the importance of working diligently at her bakery. When Carolina went to her very first bank meeting, she was going through an economic crisis in her family. Her loan officer spoke on Psalm 37, which sparked Carolina’s desire to return to God and renew her trust in Him.

Continue Reading…

HOPE’s newest savings and credit association (SCA) groups in central Burundi are only a few months into their first cycle, and already group members are pooling their savings to start businesses and buy land together. Ryan Severns, HOPE’s microenterprise technical advisor in Burundi, gives us a video update from Karuzi Province, where our partnership with a local denomination is seeing fruit.

In this video interview, Lalaine Naquita, the Savings and Credit Association program specialist for HOPE’s partner CCT, talks about how the very poor in the Philippines are finding a way to save.

Lalaine’s team of 35 savings facilitators targets nontraditional clientele, including street dwellers, indigenous populations, fishermen, and even children. Some wouldn’t think these individuals could save—sometimes they don’t think they can—but the importance of saving is nowhere more evident than among these populations, where a savings account can provide a vital safety net. Already the program has grown to reach over 2,600 savers throughout the country. Lalaine’s goals for the program are ambitious, to say the least: “My goal is that all of the SCA partners would know God as their Savior and learn why savings is so important,” she says.