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By the time we reached Rigoberto’s home, the sun had set, and I was feeling wiped out. Traveling to homes, through markets, and up the surrounding hills of Comas, Peru, we’d had two full days of meeting incredible savings group members connected to Comas CMA Church, HOPE’s partner in Peru. But stepping into Rigoberto’s home, I immediately felt soothed.

Part of it was probably because Rigoberto (pictured above) reminded me of my own dad: Both of them have a gentleness about them, and both have served as teachers for decades. Another piece was the warm greeting we received from Rigoberto and the members of his family—two daughters, his mother, sister, brother, and one grandchild—who welcomed us and invited us to sit with them to talk.

At first glance, they seemed like a close, happy family—but as we talked, Rigoberto shared that this hadn’t always been their reality.

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Comas is one of the many districts of Lima, located about 45 minutes north of the capital. Over the past few years, its population has doubled, as people from the surrounding areas come in search of work. In Comas, HOPE works with a local church partner, Iglesia Alianza Cristiana y Misionera (ACYM), which has started eight savings groups. The groups are mostly composed of entrepreneurs with small businesses they would like to expand. At the savings group meetings, the entrepreneurs learn financial and business strategies, discuss their plans for the future, study the Bible, and pray for each other. After several months, a savings group enters a second phase, and the members may then ask to take a loan from the group fund. Continue Reading…