Archives For farming

Igor* has farmed for more than 40 years. In 2015, he retired from his long-time job as the director of a large private farm in western Ukraine. But his pension wasn’t enough to live off of, nor did he want to be idle. “I just can’t sit at home. I must do something!”

Combining rented fields with land he personally owns, Igor invested in growing soy and corn. Farming is a challenging job, as you deal with uncontrollable forces like the weather and fluctuating market prices for fuel and crops. Despite these challenges, he says resolutely, “Hope dies last.” Continue Reading…

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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As a father of 10 children and an owner of two businesses in Strășeni, Moldova, it would be easy for Pavel Nichita to feel overextended. A chronic illness confines his wife to bed, and his youngest son lives with a life-altering disability, increasing the demands on Pavel’s time and energy. But to those who know him, Pavel exudes peace and joy. Indeed, he claims, “I am the happiest person alive.”

Yet, Pavel is also familiar with sorrow and struggle. But because of his close relationship with the Lord, he knows God’s mercy and love.

It is through truly knowing God alone that we can endure all hardships.”

Most Moldovan families are small (with a nationwide average household size of just 2.2, according to the Population Reference Bureau), and many Moldovan fathers work outside the country to support their families. In both respects, Pavel considers himself uniquely blessed.

It isn’t easy to provide for a large family, and small loans from Invest Credit, HOPE’s partner in Moldova, have eased the strain by allowing Pavel to make timely investments in both his farming and car repair businesses.

Pavel can only farm when the weather is warm, but with his first loan in 2010 he invested in greenhouse components to extend his growing season. Additional loans helped him repair an old combine for harvesting crops and build a garage in which to repair cars.

These opportunities, too, he sees as gifts from God. Pavel says that his relationship with Invest Credit has helped him learn more about God’s love and see that “He often helps us through other good people, no matter what circumstances we are in.”

Pavel’s circumstances became increasingly difficult during the pandemic. His car repair shop saw no customers. Because of lockdowns, he couldn’t fulfill his passion of traveling to nearby villages to share the Gospel. And many members of his family became ill.

Invest Credit granted Pavel a three-month stay on loan repayments, allowing him time to adjust to changing realities without the pressure of imminent payments.

With the extra time, Pavel was able to better manage his finances and maintain his strong credit history. Even when Pavel wasn’t actively making payments on his loan, his loan officer continued to visit and offer encouragement. Invest Credit staff prayed over Pavel and his family—and Pavel, in turn, prayed for Invest Credit and the expansion of their mission in Moldova.

Around the HOPE-network, incredible men and women are leveraging Christ-centered financial services to invest in their dreams for themselves and their communities. Watch Marcel and Jeanne’s story and see how a $48 loan launched a small business empire and created 41 jobs for their community in Rwanda.  

If given the opportunity, 50% of Moldovans would leave their country to work abroad.

And many have left. Moldova’s emigration rate is the eleventh highest worldwide. Since the 1990s, a shortage of stable jobs has led thousands to move abroad in search of work, and this trend continues today: Between 2000 and 2014, the number of people who traveled abroad to find work grew from 138,000 to 341,900—a 147% increase.

To keep Moldovan workers close to home, stable jobs are critical. And for a developing economy like Moldova’s, small-and-medium-enterprises (SMEs) fill this employment gap, with 63% of employable Moldovans working for an SME. As these businesses grow, the economy adds more local jobs—and fewer people must leave their families and communities.

Yet, credit barriers prevent many small businesses with the potential to provide much-needed jobs from expanding their businesses further. That’s why Invest Credit, HOPE’s microfinance partner in Moldova, equips entrepreneurs with larger loans to help them scale their operations and reach their potential. As these two stories demonstrate, entrepreneurs like Petrov and Sergiu are tackling the challenges of poverty in their communities. Continue Reading…

Each year, HOPE celebrates clients who demonstrate our values of perseverance, compassion, character, and creativity by announcing the Thurman Award winner. Established in honor of HOPE’s first CEO, the Thurman Award celebrates clients who have not only experienced change in their own lives but have also extended that transformation to others in their community. We’re excited to share the story of Sixbert, this year’s runner up for savings group programs!

Living on just $60 each month, Sixbert Nteziryayo struggled to afford rent and other basic needs for his family. After getting behind and missing several rent payments in a row, Sixbert, his wife, and their seven children were evicted from their home in Rwanda. Needing to provide shelter for his family, Sixbert faced the challenge of finding a new way to generate income. Continue Reading…

Around the world, HOPE-network clients are accessing financial services to grow their businesses. Join us in celebrating the ways these hardworking men and women are using their gifts, abilities, and creativity to support their families and impact their communities.
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