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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

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.


Dignora is a first-generation Dominican whose parents came from Haiti in search of a better life for their family.  Her own family is quite large, as she has seven children—the oldest of whom is 19—and one on the way, as well as five grandchildren. Dignora has taken out two loans to sell chicken in order to support her large family and send four of her children to school.


When she was just fourteen, Nini and her family moved from Haiti to the Dominican Republic in search of a better life. Now married with eight children of her own (six of whom still live with her, along with three grandchildren), Nini is thriving with her own charcoal business. When she first started her business, she needed to take out many loans from different places. It was often hard on her, so she jumped at the chance to work with only one bank—HOPE’s partner Esperanza. Since then, she has taken out 12 loans and not only feels the freedom of working with a single bank, but also treasures the camaraderie that has come with it, as she has developed great relationships with her fellow bank members.