Same mission. Same heart. Same spirit. Same name in two languages. We’ve worked together in mutual partnership for over 17 years, and we are excited that this union is about a Kingdom agenda.
Alex Nuñez, President and CEO, Esperanza International
HOPE International welcomed Esperanza International as its first network partner in 2005. Esperanza has served entrepreneurs in the Dominican Republic (D.R.) since 1995, coming alongside them with financial services, training, and holistic outreach activities such as health services. And we’re excited to now work even more closely with Esperanza through our new leadership agreement!
Over the past 17 years, HOPE and Esperanza have mutually benefited from shared best practices and technical expertise. With the same mission and heart, Esperanza has strengthened the HOPE network, and we look forward to the ways that they will help shape the way we grow and serve in these key areas.
Serving marginalized communities
Esperanza has extensive experience and insight into how to address marginalized groups’ unique needs.
Many families immigrated from neighboring Haiti to work in the D.R.’s sugar plantations. Even for those born in the D.R., people of Haitian descent cannot receive Dominican citizenship. This lack of documented status limits their options for jobs, formal banking services, and more, making them one of the most excluded people groups in the D.R. About half of those served by Esperanza are from these underserved communities.
In a context where trust is fragile and hard to come by, Esperanza has lived out their Kingdom values to faithfully serve the least served in the D.R. Their expertise in this area will guide many other microfinance institutions around the HOPE network as they, too, seek to identify and invest in the dreams of marginalized people in their respective communities.
Creating loan products to meet specific community needs
Esperanza also brings a strong spirit of innovation to the network. We’ve seen them act swiftly to create numerous loan products to respond to the needs they see in their community.
In the wake of pandemic lockdowns, Esperanza acted swiftly to offer recovery loan products to help business owners re-open their shops or re-structure their existing business models. These efforts fit the community’s needs so well that the recovery loan products drew many new people to Esperanza.
Esperanza has also leveraged financial services to invest in the D.R. school system and the next generation. When many schools struggled to stay open in 2021, Esperanza stepped in and created a loan product for 15 schools in low-income communities. The loans helped these schools continue to operate, allowing 2,195 students to continue their education amid the pandemic. Since then, over 32 schools have taken advantage of this loan, enabling 4,000 students to stay in school as the education system adapted to the pandemic.
Esperanza’s quickness to respond to local needs and create tailored loan products inspires us to keep innovating and adapting to better serve other communities worldwide.
Offering non-financial services
Esperanza also brings a focus and passion for non-financial services, from prayer calls with borrowers to biblically-based online training. They model what it looks like to develop the tools clients need to address and fight material poverty.
Last year, Esperanza administered surveys to entrepreneurs to better understand their needs and interests, as well as discern the barriers preventing them from participating in training and educational opportunities. Their findings helped them discern a pivot to offering online educational webinars about a variety of topics, from business training to mental health to seeking God more deeply.
Many served by Esperanza struggle to access affordable dental care. Through a U.S.-based program called Smiles for Life, Esperanza hosts dental clinics for the men and women they serve—so these families can receive routine cleanings without driving for hours to an expensive clinic. In March, Smiles for Life served their 25,000th dental patient since the program’s inception.
Whether that’s creating relevant training or delivering other non-financial services, Esperanza encourages us to dream about what other tools people need to address poverty in all its forms.
We’re so grateful for all the ways Esperanza strengthens the HOPE network—and we’re excited to keep learning from them as we serve more people in the D.R. and around the world!
Want to get to know some of the men and women Esperanza serves? Read the story of Jacobo and Yasquina, a father and daughter who used loans to start their dream businesses and supply the services their community lacked.