Archives For Microfinance

Lina Feria never imagined that her small business selling homemade snacks could grow into a flourishing general store. Yet her story testifies that God can use small loans and persistence to transform a business and a whole family. 

Building a business brick by brick 

When Lina first decided to become a member of The Center for Community Transformation (CCT), HOPE International’s partner in the Philippines, she was selling traditional rice cake snacks (called kakanin) that she made at home. 

Although she was not a Christian then, Lina joined CCT because she was curious about their Bible studies. As she got to know staff members and read the Word, she slowly began to learn more about God and eventually gave her life to Him.  

It wasn’t long before Lina found herself looking into CCT’s financial services, too. In 1998, Lina took her first loan to support her small business. With a second loan, she expanded her inventory to include frozen products—which proved very popular with her customers. As her confidence grew, Lina continued to take out loans to expand her business into a general store with many offerings for her neighborhood.  

Freedom to be flexible 

When her community’s needs shifted, Lina switched up her business strategy and diversify her inventory.  

Subsequent loans and training from CCT equipped her to build a physical store; add fishing supplies; and begin selling motor parts, generators, gallons of purified drinking water, and chickens to sell eggs.  

“Materially, the Lord has given us so much,” Lina shares. “I am no longer peddling.”  

Today, Lina has bold dreams for the future. She and her husband are renting their current store building, but one day they hope to buy land and build a store of their own.  

Whether those HOPE serves are diversifying inventory, raising livestock, tailoring clothes, or growing crops, we’ve seen the kind of transformation that is possible when men and women use their gifts and talents to provide for their families. 

In this year’s Gifts of HOPE catalog, we’ve highlighted some of the poverty-fighting tools used most commonly by entrepreneurs and farmers that HOPE serves. You can purchase these items symbolically in honor of friends and loved ones as a Christmas gift! 

We invite you to join hands with remarkable men and women like Lina through a Gift of HOPE this Christmas season.

“Your help is actually hurting us.”

This honest feedback from a Ukrainian pastor sparked the mission of HOPE International—and still guides us as we seek to support a country now in the middle of a devastating war. As we help today, how can the lessons we learned 25 years ago inform us?

Helping in Ukraine without hurting—then and now

During the economic crisis following Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet Union, immediate relief aid helped many. But as this short-term solution persisted, it began to undermine Ukrainians’ ability to stand on their own and build their economy. (Learn more about HOPE’s origin story here.) Continue Reading…

Vincent Habiyaremye has a knack for taking broken or seemingly worthless pieces that many of us might discard and transforming them into something functional and whole.

Fifteen years ago, he used those skills as a carpenter, going door to door in his community in Rwanda to find odd jobs and provide for his wife and children. But his days were long and the demand for his services was sporadic.

Vincent dreamed of moving beyond the fluctuation of day labor. He dreamed of supporting his children through school so that they could one day pursue their own dreams. He dreamed of using his God-given gifts to build beautiful things in his community—and creating a business that would empower others to do the same.

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Simon RurihafiSimon Rurihafi (pictured right) is a coffee farmer who owns 350 trees—but he almost gave up on farming them.

In Burundi, the hurdles facing coffee farmers like Simon are many: The labor is demanding, farming techniques and expectations for bean quality have shifted in recent years, and there are gaps in the global supply and demand chains, making it difficult for smallholder farmers to connect with buyers at competitive prices. Simon recalls, “I thought of abandoning coffee in the past because of these challenges!”

On top of this, Burundian farmers have very few options to access financial services or training to update their farming practices, purchase additional land, plant more trees, or connect with buyers.

As a result, farmers have felt stuck, alone, and without options.

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“I can connect with HOPE on multiple levels,” says Marcia Malzahn (pictured above), laughing.

Born in Nicaragua, Marcia was a teenager when she and her family had to move to the Dominican Republic (D.R.) as refugees. Her time there helps her feel a special connection to HOPE’s work with Esperanza International, HOPE’s partner in the D.R. Continue Reading…

K-shaped recovery

The United States is currently experiencing what economists are calling a K-shaped recovery. This occurs when, following a widespread and significant economic dip, certain portions of the economy begin to move toward economic recovery, while others stagnate or fall even further. A K-shaped graph helps explain why recovery following the pandemic seems to be occurring unevenly—while some industries (and people) are returning to normal or even improving, others are experiencing the very opposite.

This phenomenon seems to be occurring globally, as well.

Continue Reading…