Archives For Esperanza

In the Dominican Republic, a batey (pronounced “bah-TAY”) is a community made up primarily of families who immigrated from Haiti to work in surrounding sugarcane fields. These underserved communities are often located hours away from the nearest city. As immigrants, many families living in bateyes lack the necessary legal status to receive financial services, education, or medical services.

When Esperanza, HOPE’s microfinance partner in the Dominican Republic, first arrived in Batey Margarita in 2006, Jacobo Benjamin was the first of his neighbors to take out a loan. Previously, Jacobo had worked in the nearby sugarcane fields, cutting and processing the crop. But when the processing company announced it was closing, Jacobo knew he’d need to find a new source of income.

With his loan from Esperanza, Jacobo opened a colmado, or corner store, allowing him to provide for his family and meet a key need for his neighbors.

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by Ugochi Obidiegwu (pictured third from left), 2022 Innovation and Design fellow 

Joining HOPE International as an innovation and design fellow, I was curious about HOPE’s operations. I particularly wanted to see if the amazing things I saw on the website happened in real life.

Therefore, when I saw there was an opportunity to see the work of Esperanza International, HOPE’s microfinance partner in the Dominican Republic (D.R.), I signed up. And I was not disappointed. HOPE’s method of Christ-centered economic development works.  

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Each year, HOPE celebrates a client who demonstrates HOPE’s values of perseverance, compassion, character, and creativity with the Thurman Award. Established in honor of HOPE’s first CEO and his wife, the Thurman celebrates clients who have not only experienced change in their own lives but have also extended that transformation to others in their community. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be posting the stories of this year’s winner and four honorable mentions to the blog. Today we celebrate Evangelista Osoria, honorable mention from the Dominican Republic. Evangelista Osoria rises well before the sun in Los Alcarrizos, Dominican Republic. The 52-year-old dreams of someday sleeping past 4 a.m., but for now, her elderly mother, three children, three grandchildren, and five employees are counting on her and her business, Yenis Empanada. Evangelista sells popular Dominican dishes directly to customers and sells flour and prepared dough to local vendors who rely on these products to run their own shops. Continue Reading...
Rosa Iris, the loan officer I was traveling with on a sunny February morning north of Santo Domingo, stood waiting for the motoconcho which would take us to the next loan meeting. “I’ll wait for you here,” she says. I hurry off to Raquel’s house, the microloan associate I had just interviewed. After I snap her picture, she asks to see it. “You’re so beautiful,” I tell her. “Me?” Raquel laughs incredulously. She tells me that she is facing troubles in her business, and that she misses her family. Earlier, I had asked Raquel what her favorite Bible verse was. “Jeremiah 1:19,” she had said. Back at the branch office, I pull out my Spanish Bible and look it up: “They will fight against you, but they will not conquer you, because I AM with you, says YAHWEH, to deliver you.” Continue Reading...

Through the Experience HOPE Trips program, participants meet staff and clients of Esperanza International, HOPE’s partner in the Dominican Republic; visit small businesses started with microloans; and return home inspired by the experience. But that’s not all.

Here are five reasons you should experience HOPE Trips.

  1. You don’t have to take our word for it. Have you ever wondered if microfinance is over-hyped or whether a small loan can truly make a big difference? See for yourself when you meet and speak with small business owners in the Dominican Republic.
  2. Discuss the problem of poverty with like-minded travelers. Scripture has a lot to say about poverty but isn’t always clear on how to responsibly apply principles of generosity and good stewardship. Spend time discussing God’s call and our response with others wrestling with the same questions.
  3. Your view on poverty won’t be the same. Think poverty just means lacking money? Expand your perspective as you learn how broadly those who live in poverty define the problem.
  4. You’ll meet those your support has empowered. If you’ve ever prayed for HOPE’s ministry or given to our programs, you’ve impacted our clients. Putting names and faces to HOPE’s clients helps you pray and give with passion.
  5. The D.R. is positively balmy this time of year. Temperatures in the Dominican Republic in January average 75 degrees. Need we say more?

For more information or to register for a HOPE Trip, visit www.hopetrips.org.

At 52 years old, Cecilia is honing her entrepreneurial skills, learning good stewardship skills, and feeling proud that she can adequately take care of her seven children, the oldest being 31, and the youngest 17. Having taken out three loans, Cecilia credits HOPE’s partner Esperanza with teaching her responsibility when it comes to money. Not only does she have to invest wisely—which she has done through selling charcoal, ice cream, and soap as well as charging people to use her washing machine—but she also has to pay back her loan in a timely manner. In addition, whenever one of her 11 grandchildren is sick, she proudly takes them to the doctor and purchases the medicine they need. Cecilia believes that God has greatly blessed her through the loans she has received.