Archives For Thurman Award

Each year, we celebrate clients who demonstrate HOPE’s values of perseverance, compassion, character, and creativity by announcing Thurman Award winners. Established in honor of HOPE’s first CEO and his wife, 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 […]

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Each year, we celebrate clients who demonstrate HOPE’s values of perseverance, compassion, character, and creativity by announcing Thurman Award winners. Established in honor of HOPE’s first CEO and his wife, 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 this year’s honorable mention from Latin America: Eduviges Cruz.

Before Eduviges Cruz opened her business, there were no convenience stores in her neighborhood. Seeing the opportunity to develop a business that would meet her community’s everyday needs, Eduviges used loans from HOPE’s partner in the Dominican Republic, Esperanza International, to start her convenience store, which has grown to include a wide variety of groceries and household items.

With the store’s profits, she and her husband bought a piece of land and built their own home. She relishes that she now has the means to buy shoes and school supplies for her children. “Everything changes … when you start to work,” Eduviges says. This is a statement she firmly believes, and she’s encouraging others to join Esperanza and start their own businesses.

And it’s not just the access to capital and training that Eduviges appreciates. Through Esperanza’s group repayment meetings, she also heard the Gospel, accepting Christ’s love for the first time. Later, through her witness, her husband also came to know the Lord, beginning a new season of healing and reconciliation in their marriage. Eduviges testifies that God “has turned my wailing into dancing. He’s clothed me with joy. I know what I’m talking about, because I went through some pretty difficult situations. And that’s why I say that God’s turned my wailing into dancing.”

Anasitaziya

Each year, HOPE celebrates clients who demonstrate HOPE’s values of perseverance, compassion, character, and creativity by announcing the Thurman Award. Established in honor of HOPE’s first CEO and his wife, 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 Anasitaziya, this year’s honorable mention from Africa!

The challenges nearly-80-year-old Anasitaziya Kankwanzi has overcome would be enough for several lifetimes. In her 30s, Anasitaziya’s eyesight began to falter. Doctors provided little help, but she retained enough vision to function independently. Two decades later, when she was nearly 60 years old, her husband was killed in the Rwandan genocide, leaving Anasitaziya as one of nearly 50,000 widows in the nation. Anasitaziya survived the genocide hidden in a dark room. When she finally stepped out into the light, her vision was gone. “I had gone completely blind,” she recounts.

Pressing on

Anasitaziya’s life has been marked by determination and hope. Though widowed and blind, she resumed her farming career by hiring workers to dig and plant for her. Despite her hard work, there were some who took advantage of Anasitaziya’s vulnerability, pilfering her crops to feed their livestock or stealing from her home.

Even in hardship, Anasitaziya never succumbed to despair or stopped working to improve her life. Instead, she takes her needs to the great Provider. “I never lose hope. I am comforted by the Word of God. I know God is with me. … My God is really faithful. He does not let me suffer.”

Never alone

When a church leader invited Anasitaziya to join a savings group in 2011, she liked the idea. Though her farm provided enough to pay her workers and meet her most basic needs, Anasitaziya saw many ways in which her life could improve as a savings group member. Her home was gradually crumbling, with stones falling from her walls every day, but it would take a lump sum—which she had never had—to reinforce the structure. “I know I can do anything through Christ, so I joined others and we started saving,” Anasitaziya remembers.

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Marya

Each year, HOPE celebrates clients who demonstrate HOPE’s values of perseverance, compassion, character, and creativity by announcing the Thurman Award. Established in honor of HOPE’s first CEO and his wife, 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 Marya, this year’s honorable mention from Eastern Europe!

There came a time when Marya Wozniak had to ask herself, “How much is enough?” For a number of years, her hard-working instinct, coupled with her circumstances as a single mother, led Marya to pursue business growth wholeheartedly. After all, when her husband abandoned the family, she was left to feed, clothe, house, and educate their three children on her income alone.

Marya worked diligently in the market of Drogobych, Ukraine, selling embroidery thread from a small table. After much hard work, she expanded from a table to a rented room. With small loans from HOPE Ukraine, Marya purchased her own storefront and transitioned to a confectionary shop, where she sells both homemade and purchased sweets and candies. Her income helped her children attend college and even become established in businesses of their own.

Redefining success

Since Marya became a HOPE Ukraine client in 2008, she’s developed deep relationships with staff members. “HOPE Ukraine staff is my family,” she says of the support she has found in her loan officer and others. These relationships opened the door for more than just business support.

Marya always considered herself a very moral and religious woman, but as she built relationships with HOPE’s staff, she began to hear them speak about a relationship with Jesus Christ. They shared that each one of us needs a Savior, regardless of our good deeds. Since she respected and cared for HOPE Ukraine’s staff, Marya reflected on their words and their lives. She began to contemplate salvation and started attending services at a local church—where she offered her life to Jesus and was baptized.
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Digna

Each year, HOPE celebrates clients who demonstrate HOPE’s values of perseverance, compassion, character, and creativity by announcing the Thurman Award. Established in honor of HOPE’s first CEO and his wife, 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 Digna, this year’s honorable mention from Asia!

It took three visits from a savings facilitator before Digna Nibay was convinced to join a savings group through the Center for Community Transformation (CCT), HOPE’s partner in the Philippines. She says she had never before saved a single centavo, and it took some persuading to convince the mother of six that she could. Digna and her husband had a combined income of just over $13 a day, which barely covered food, water, electricity, transportation to work, and school expenses for the couple’s children. When income fluctuations disrupted the family’s day-to-day life, Digna was forced to borrow small sums from neighbors or relatives to cover everyday expenses. These experiences showed her the benefit of personal savings: Digna just needed to create some margin to save.

When Digna agreed to join the group, she was committed, and she became not only a member but the group’s president. Saving was a challenge, and a number of the group’s initial members dropped out during the first round—but those who persisted remarkably saved over $150 each by the end of the first year. As her community saw the outcome, Digna’s group began to gain momentum, tripling in size by its second year. Now in its fourth year-long cycle, each group member saves $5.60 a week.

Leaps of faith

For most of her adult life, Digna worked in the laundry industry, a bustling business in the tourist community of Tagaytay, where she lives. After just a year in the savings group, Digna took a leap of faith and launched her own laundry business. A year later, she led her group into a joint business venture—beginning a laundry business that serves a large retreat center nearby. The business has created 44 jobs for washers, ironers, and delivery workers. Though Digna could have hired employees and kept more profits for herself, she instead invited group members to be co-owners, evidencing her generous spirit.  “When blessings come my way, I want to share them,” she says.

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Miguelina Padilla

Each year, HOPE celebrates clients who demonstrate HOPE’s values of perseverance, compassion, character, and creativity by announcing the Thurman Award. Established in honor of HOPE’s first CEO and his wife, 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 Miguelina, this year’s honorable mention from Latin America!

On any given day, Miguelina Padilla’s home is a flurry of activity. She operates a busy hair salon and used clothing and shoe store, occupying the front of her home, while the church Miguelina and her husband started a few years ago meets on the side. The church also hosts community bank meetings for Esperanza International, HOPE’s partner in the Dominican Republic.

A strong foundation

Having previously lost her home and business when the space her family rented was sold, Miguelina understands the value of stable home ownership. When the Padillas built their own home in 2008, they could not afford to install a roof, electricity, or a bathroom. But Miguelina dreamed of improving their home and reopening her hair salon, and she says Esperanza came at the right time. She used small loans to purchase salon products and equipment, declaring, “I’m going to work now, doing what I know how to do.”

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