We apologize for any confusion caused by our International Women’s Day email subject line, “Give women the chance to choose,” on March 8. The subject line references a line from the email celebrating with HOPE’s female clients that God has worked through Christ-centered microfinance to give them “the chance to choose” a better life for themselves, their children, and their communities.
Today, on International Women’s Day, people around the world celebrate the strength, resilience, and dignity of women. It may seem hard to celebrate when there are still many women who are beaten, denied schooling, forced into marriage, used, abused, and mistreated. But HOPE believes that God loves each of these women and that women can make a powerful difference in their communities when given the chance. That’s why 82 percent of the over 380,000 clients HOPE serves are women—women, like Dyna Uwizeye, who are using their God-given skills to transform entire communities.
Before joining HOPE, Dyna and her husband owned a small bakery in Bugarama, Rwanda. In 2009, with a $167 loan from Urwego Opportunity Bank (HOPE’s partner in Rwanda), Dyna expanded the bakery, increased her business profits, and started saving. With subsequent loans, along with personal savings, Dyna opened a supermarket, built a house, and continues to invest in her bakery.
Just four years later, Dyna now employs 45 Rwandans between her two stores. Two manage the supermarket, while 43 work in the bakery. Of this number, 13 are employed to distribute bread to towns throughout Rwanda and into neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo. In a nation where women are often dependent on their husbands, Dyna is feeding families across Africa and challenging the idea that women are helpless.
Dyna knows that God blessed her businesses in order to be a blessing to others. In addition to supporting her five children, Dyna adopted three orphans from her village. She sends all eight of her children to school or vocational training and helps pay her brother’s high school tuition. One of her children even attends a top university in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital. By educating her children, Dyna is breaking the cycle of poverty for her family and her nation.
In addition to financial and social transformation, Dyna says that participating in group meetings centered on biblical teaching and prayer has tremendously enhanced her spiritual life. She attributes all her success to God and thanks HOPE International for providing the resources for her to begin stepping out of physical and spiritual poverty.
Though women continue to suffer violence and injustice, HOPE works diligently to ensure that women like Dyna have a chance to thrive. Through HOPE’s Christ-centered microfinance, and by the grace of God, stories like Dyna’s are not unusual. And that is truly something to celebrate.