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Tetiana Ohyria knows that a haircut is about so much more than looking good. As a professional stylist in Ukraine, she sees her job as a way to dignify others and bring joy to her community. “I make them look nice, and they smile. My calling is to help people!” she says.

As early as 6 years old, Tetiana knew she wanted to be a hairstylist. Her parents weren’t sure of the practicality of her decision and suggested other career paths. But Tetiana was determined to make her dream a reality. After cosmetology school, she began to work in a shared salon space in a nearby city, where she spent 30 years developing her skill set and building a loyal clientele. Continue Reading…

Featured image: A church partner’s building damaged in the earthquake

Our hearts continue to break as we hear about the ongoing challenges in Haiti: the culmination of a global health crisis, heightened political tensions following the assassination of the country’s president in July, escalating gang violence that’s affected 1.5 million people, the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck the southern portion of the country in August, and the tropical storm that followed it.

We grieve with our neighbors in Haiti—and we know that out of our ache, we’re called to respond in love, prayer, immediate action, and ongoing support to help shoulder the burden they are carrying. Continue Reading…

When the HOPE Malawi team thought about HOPE’s strategic objective of serving the least served, one population that came to mind was refugees—specifically residents of the Dzaleka refugee camp, located about an hour outside the capital city of Lilongwe.

“We seek to serve the Dzaleka refugee community,” says Timothy Malaidza, HOPE Malawi’s operations manager, “because we see it as being financially underserved due to social and systemic exclusion.”

The Dzaleka refugee camp was established in 1994 to house people fleeing ethnic violence and conflict in Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Taking its name from the Chichewa word meaning “I will never try again,” it currently houses around 50,000 refugees in a space meant for 14,000. Continue Reading…

Twenty-five years ago, Analyn Saturnino’s world crumbled around her.

While pregnant with her first child, Analyn began to experience arthritic pains throughout her body. Her baby boy tragically died only seven months after being born, and as she mourned the loss of her child, Analyn’s physical pain grew worse. Her condition soon rendered her permanently dependent on a wheelchair.

Overwhelmed, Analyn remembers crying out to God in a moment of Job-like despair, “Why do you torture me like this? Just take me.” Continue Reading…

This blog was originally posted on Peter Greer’s website in July. Since posting, southwestern Haiti has experienced a magnitude 7.2 earthquake on August 14 that killed over 1,200 and injured more than 5,700. Our staff members are safe, and we’re still assessing the impact on our church partners and savings groups. In the face of yet another natural disaster and ensuing humanitarian crisis, the main tenet of this post is as poignant as ever: Courageous Haitian leaders who have decided to stay in their country are bringing hope to communities where many might not see much cause for optimism.      

Haiti catapulted onto the international stage last month when its president, Jovenel Moïse, was assassinated in his home by a group of gunmen wielding assault rifles. His wife, Haitian First Lady Martine Marie Étienne Moïse, was wounded in the attack. This latest tragedy plunges Haiti further into chaos with shootouts in the streets, widespread fear, escalating tensions, rising gang violence, and political turmoil.

Haiti doesn’t often make international headlines, and when it does, it’s rarely good news: a devastating earthquake … a deadly cholera outbreak … another violent coup. But underneath the chaos, there is another story that needs to make the headlines: the faithful men and women who choose to stay and serve. Continue Reading…

By the time we reached Rigoberto’s home, the sun had set, and I was feeling wiped out. Traveling to homes, through markets, and up the surrounding hills of Comas, Peru, we’d had two full days of meeting incredible savings group members connected to Comas CMA Church, HOPE’s partner in Peru. But stepping into Rigoberto’s home, I immediately felt soothed.

Part of it was probably because Rigoberto (pictured above) reminded me of my own dad: Both of them have a gentleness about them, and both have served as teachers for decades. Another piece was the warm greeting we received from Rigoberto and the members of his family—two daughters, his mother, sister, brother, and one grandchild—who welcomed us and invited us to sit with them to talk.

At first glance, they seemed like a close, happy family—but as we talked, Rigoberto shared that this hadn’t always been their reality.

Continue Reading…