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How a savings group is helping Rina pay off her debt

Before joining her savings group in Peru, Rina Navarro de la Cruz had to borrow a large loan with a high-interest rate just to pay the bills. Now, week by week, she’s escaping that cycle—and teaching her daughters about God. 

Rina provides for her family of four by selling makeup and skincare products to her neighbors in Peru. But raising her two young daughters, Renata and Camila, ages three and six, means Rina’s not able to work much. Currently, she is only able to work on weekends. 

Saving money was a distant dream for Rina and her family.  

“I wanted to save,” Rina shares. “With my family, I saved a small amount, but it didn’t work that much because we had no rules and there was no order.” 

Since Rina never learned to save, she simply spent her money as expenses grew. But with no knowledge of how to save and no accountability, Rina and her partner found themselves at a loss when the COVID-19 pandemic reached her community in 2020. 

With her source of income put on hold and family expenses piling up, Rina and her partner turned to the best option they had at the time. They borrowed a loan from a nearby bank—even though they knew it came with a steep interest rate that they’d be paying off for years. 

“My economic situation before, during the pandemic, was terrible, since we couldn’t work. … I borrowed from the bank to cover my expenses, because we couldn’t work and we didn’t have any money and I didn’t have anything to feed my daughters. We took out a loan from the [local] bank and we are still paying it off.”  

Saving toward her goals 

In 2021, Rina joined the Inspirados en Dios (“inspired by God”) savings group. 

Since joining the group, Rina has learned to save more formally. Having returned to work on weekends as her partner works continuously throughout the week, they now save spare money for long-term goals. 

And Rina is seeing fruit from her new financial habits!  

She was able to finish unfinished areas of her home: “[Before] my kitchen had nothing; the floor was dirt, and I only had a laundry room and nothing else. Thanks to the savings, I was able to build my kitchen.”  

Rina and her partner are also slowly paying off her loan to the bank. “Every income that we have goes [to] the bank,” she says. 

Looking more like Christ 

Rina has also learned more about God through her savings group—although she didn’t expect it at first. “What I first thought was to save money, but then they told me that the Word of God was also spoken [at group meetings].” 

As Rina has learned more about the Bible, she has been motivated to put it into practice, being more gracious with her family and even teaching her daughters about the Lord. 

Before I was very impatient; now I have more patience with my daughters. Even before, I didn’t teach my daughters about God. Now I teach them about God and I have taught my daughters to pray. I have also learned to be patient with my partner.

And others have started to notice something different in Rina. Her family has seen such a change in her life that they joined her savings group, too. Praise God! 

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As Christ’s followers responding to His great love, HOPE International seeks physical, social, spiritual, and personal restoration in places of brokenness. Through Christ-centered economic development, we empower men and women to strengthen their families, build their businesses, and unleash their dreams.

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