Archives For COVID-19

Sungano savings group members draw water for their crops.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic shuttered Zimbabwe’s schools last March, Lorraine Chifamba’s attendance had been spotty. Sometimes her parents could afford her school fees, uniforms, and supplies—but often, they could not. When she and several other young members of her community, ages 11-18, saw an opportunity to help their parents provide, they joined the Sungano (“Covenant”) savings group. Continue Reading…

Living in a remote community on the outskirts of Comas, Peru, Margarita Moreno collects and sells discarded bottles and recyclables. This summer, Peru experienced a surge in COVID-19 deaths, leading the country to enter a time of severe lockdown. While this time could have left Margarita feeling more isolated than ever, her connection in community has instead grown stronger. Continue Reading…

Earlier this year, a temporary shutdown to stop the spread of COVID-19 restricted the grocery and grill business that Jofrey Mbema (pictured) owns in the Republic of Congo. With his income suddenly and unexpectedly cut, Jofrey’s greatest concern was how to provide for his family. But he also wondered how he’d manage to repay the business loan he’d taken through HOPE Congo. Continue Reading…

When I heard that a whole generation of economic progress could be lost because of COVID-19, what might have been an abstract concept felt personal.

Like kids across the country, my first grader, Addi, spent this spring learning from home. One assignment had her interviewing a family member, and she chose her grandpa: my dad. She carefully printed questions in her notebook—using her best phonetic spelling—and as FaceTime connected, I settled in to hear the stories I remember hearing as a child: my dad and his brothers chasing each other across farm fields, dad knocking an aggressive farm goose senseless in self-defense, his exasperated mother shooing six boys out of her kitchen with a rolling pin—or whatever else was handy.

Addi and I giggled over several of these same stories, but hearing them as an adult, many were tinged with a sadness and struggle I hadn’t remembered. Like when my dad told Addi about his family’s two-seater outhouse, how the brothers competed to be first in line for a weekly bath so the tub water would still be clean, how glasses of water turned to ice on bedside tables in the wintertime, how his parents saved every bit of extra money to buy each boy a second-hand bicycle one Christmas, how they rarely visited a doctor, and how his parents buried their only daughter and a son before their fifth birthdays.

It dawned on me: Not in a faraway country or too long ago, my dad grew up in poverty. Continue Reading…

A self-described “serial entrepreneur,” Anthony Barton has always had a keen eye for unmet needs. As a child, he trudged up and down sandy beaches in Malibu selling ice cream to hungry surfers. In college, he noticed the mess generated by fraternity parties on campus and started a business cleaning up the trash left behind. After graduation, he noticed that a lot of bars and restaurants could also use a good cleaning. Knowing he had the experience to do something about it, Anthony launched his first wildly successful cleaning business—the A Specialist.

Several years ago, Anthony and his wife, Yolanda, sold the A Specialist and together launched a new cleaning business called SAFE Kitchens, with the goal of “creating a culture within commercial kitchens that is as risk and worry-free as humanly possible.”

Then COVID-19 struck, and 95% of their business evaporated as their clients in food services, aviation, and film shut their doors. Continue Reading…

We asked several leaders from around the HOPE network—Rwanda, the Dominican Republic, and Paraguay—to share how they are coming alongside the men and women we serve as they recover losses related to COVID-19 lockdowns and reopen their businesses.

Rwanda

Hear from Diane Uwamahoro and Isaie Ndayizeye, co-directors of the HOPE Rwanda savings group program.

Continue Reading…