Archives For savings

Living in a remote community on the outskirts of Comas, Peru, Margarita Moreno collects and sells discarded bottles and recyclables. This summer, Peru experienced a surge in COVID-19 deaths, leading the country to enter a time of severe lockdown. While this time could have left Margarita feeling more isolated than ever, her connection in community has instead grown stronger. Continue Reading…

Earlier this year, a temporary shutdown to stop the spread of COVID-19 restricted the grocery and grill business that Jofrey Mbema (pictured) owns in the Republic of Congo. With his income suddenly and unexpectedly cut, Jofrey’s greatest concern was how to provide for his family. But he also wondered how he’d manage to repay the business loan he’d taken through HOPE Congo. Continue Reading…

by Luke Harbaugh, HOPE Church Representative

It’s tempting to idealize a life of isolation. The fiction of total independence, full autonomy, and little to no social accountability can sound appealing. However, Genesis 2:18 reminds us “it is not good for a man to be alone,” and we also learn from Genesis that God created us to function as social creatures, living in relationship with Him and in community with others. When we embrace a life of isolation, we are denying a key piece of our design as humans, but when we embrace community, we come alive more fully.

I got to personally witness the healing power of community when I visited Ishaan and his sister Darsha in South Asia last year.* Ishaan used to live a pretty normal life—he was funny, kind, and well-liked by those who knew him. But one day he started to get sick—and this sickness went beyond physical symptoms. His personality seemed to change.

He stopped eating, and he would barely drink. There were also violent outbursts and anger. Where he once used kind words, there was now profanity and insults. He would cry out randomly, and he would snarl and flail wildly. Completely out of character, Ishaan also stopped working. Continue Reading…

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…