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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...

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.