Happy Thanksgiving! We are so grateful for all those who support HOPE—through advocacy, prayer, or finances. This Thanksgiving, please accept our thanks on behalf of clients like Marie Jeanne (whose story is included below) who have experienced significant transformation because of your support. Through savings programs, small business loans, basic business training, and the hope of the Gospel, HOPE is reaching nearly 350,000 clients in 16 countries around the world. We thank God and thank you for giving us the privilege of working with these inspiring individuals to bring change to their families, communities, and countries!
In fact, most members of the group initially balked at the idea of pooling their savings to grow a usable base of capital. “They said that no one in this community is rich enough to save,” Marie Jeanne recalls. As they received training, however, participants began to shift their focus from what they lack to what they have. A savings group coordinator explains, “God is asking, ‘What do you have?’ You have hands, you have knowledge, and you have your group. This is a strength when you work together.”
Looking at what they had, the 21 members of the group that calls itself “People Seeking God” found that they were all farming independently. The church offered an unused parcel of land, and as the group’s savings grew, they were able to purchase coffee trees. They’ve now planted 300 trees and recently bought a second parcel of land, on which they plan to plant 1,000 trees. As their income has increased, their savings have also grown, from 8 cents a month to $1.83 per month.
In addition to the jointly owned coffee plantation, many group members have sent children to school, acquired assets, or even purchased homes. Marie Jeanne has six children, and she’s proud to say that all of them are in school. “We started small,” she says proudly, “but today we are very grateful.”