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How a savings group helped Sandrine find community, deeper faith, and a better future 

Sandrine Niwemuraza and her tailoring business

Sandrine working in her tailoring shop

Sandrine Niwemuraza had every reason to stay away from church. “[My] mother used to encourage me to go to church, but I did not want to because I didn’t feel welcomed.” 

While still in high school in rural Rwanda, Sandrine became pregnant, and she and her mother—also a single parent—felt despair about their situation. They now faced the reality of even deeper generational poverty. Rejected by their extended family, church, and neighbors, they felt alone. 

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By Bethany Hammond, Project Management Associate

I’m going to have a hard time reconciling this trip. I’ve traveled to over 30 countries in my 39 years. But this one was different.  

In early April, I traveled to an isolated, rural community in northern Zimbabwe to visit a people group called the Doma. My assignment was to listen to community members share about the challenges they face in their daily lives. While my co-workers at HOPE Zimbabwe had given me good context, I was in many ways unprepared to witness the poverty and physical danger that the Doma people endure each day.  

Bethany (right) with a savings group member named Jimmy and his family

The Doma people have lived for years on the margins of Zimbabwean society. Their area near the Zambezi River is so remote that they weren’t affected by the COVID-19 pandemic! They live off of the land, between what they can grow, forage, and sometimes hunt—though they aren’t allowed to hunt any animals from the nearby conservation area.  

They come into daily contact with wildlife that destroy their crops and cause them physical harm or, sometimes, death. I’ve never visited a community that faces such stark challenges.  Continue Reading…

Serving those at the very margins of society has always been one of our core motivations. We believe no one should have to make the impossible decisions that come with poverty—or live without the hope of Christ’s love. 

Roughly 41% of people worldwide have not heard the Gospel. At the same time, almost 700 million people—nearly 1 in 10 globally—live on less than $2.15 a day. Even more people—1.7 billion worldwide—lack access to financial services.  

At HOPE International, we believe God is calling us to move faster toward families on the margins. But over 27 years of operation, we’ve learned that reaching marginalized groups requires an intentional focus on those who have been socially, systemically, or spiritually overlooked.  

That’s why we set a goal to reach 20 new frontier communities with Christ-centered financial services by the end of 2025. (And we’re ahead of schedule!) 

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Jocelyn breaking out of poverty in Philippines

How deepening a relationship with Jesus empowers families to break out of poverty

At HOPE International, we believe that without Christ, none of us can be truly free from poverty. One of our great joys is seeing people come to know Christ and experience the abundant life He offers.

Today, we’re celebrating the stories of Alphonse, Dominga, and Jocelyn, three people served by HOPE who have experienced spiritual transformation and poverty’s grip loosening. From learning how to pray to sharing the joy of salvation with family to finding hope for the future, these stories illustrate how God is at work—and why sharing the love of Jesus remains integral to our approach to alleviating poverty.

Alphonse Nsengumuremyi: learning to pray

Before taking out a loan from Urwego Bank, HOPE’s microfinance institution in Rwanda, Alphonse says he didn’t have the capital he needed to expand his family’s small business of selling cooking oil. Without enough income, he struggled to pay school fees for his children.

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This International Women’s Day, we honor the God-given dreams, gifts, and leadership of women across the globe. We also recognize the numerous obstacles that many still face—from limited education to discrimination, social marginalization, or lack of access to financial sevices. At HOPE International, we are committed to empowering more women to provide for their families and communities and be renewed in their faith.  

These three remarkable female entrepreneurs have demonstrated incredible business savvy while giving back to their communities. Join us in celebrating their stories today! Continue Reading…

By Dan Williams, Vice President of Integrated Strategy

This post was originally published in 2018 and has been updated for 2024. 

The flight attendant came on the intercom announcing our final descent into Rwanda. Giving up on my attempt to nap, I began gathering my things in preparation for landing, ensuring that my seatback was in the upright position, my tray table stowed, and my carry-on under the seat in front of me. Fully prepared for landing, I noticed my row companion taking out his earbuds, so I began conversing with him for the first time. An eager short-term mission trip participant, this was his first visit to Rwanda. 

“What brings you to Rwanda?” he asked. 

“I work for a Christ-centered development network called HOPE International,” I said. “We have a microfinance program and a savings group ministry here in Rwanda.”  Continue Reading…