Archives For Microfinance

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.

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Carrole Moussengue

2020 was the most challenging year in HOPE International’s 23-year history. Although we felt the strain of the pandemic on HOPE’s operations, the hardest part was witnessing many of the men and women we serve endure illness, loss of life, overwhelmed health care systems, shortages, halted businesses, and falling income.

Microfinance institutions (MFIs) across the HOPE network rallied to assist struggling entrepreneurs, but with markets closed and commerce grinding to a halt, the outlook was grim for both MFIs and those we serve. We began to see a chain reaction play out across our network’s operations:

COVID-19 hits, mandated lockdowns instated, businesses close and/or sales decrease, household income lost, loan repayments missed

But today, we’re excited to report that we’re seeing encouraging signs of recovery in HOPE-network microfinance institutions. We celebrate these because they indicate not only that our operations are returning to health but—even more importantly—that the families we serve are seeing their lives stabilize. Thanks be to God! Continue Reading…

Pediatrician Olga Hoi examines a baby

In 2017, a Politico article titled “In Ukraine, health care is free (except when it’s not),” lamented the state of Ukraine’s “underfunded, corrupt, and inaccessible” health care system. Since then, reforms attempting to address these limitations have empowered private doctors to compete with state clinics for public funding, enhancing quality of care and patient choice.

In 2020, as the importance of health care reached a new pinnacle, HOPE Ukraine received a loan application from Olga Hoi, a young doctor who had founded her own clinic after years of service as a pediatrician in a Ukrainian state hospital. Continue Reading…