Archives For microfinance

Lina Feria never imagined that her small business selling homemade snacks could grow into a flourishing general store. Yet her story testifies that God can use small loans and persistence to transform a business and a whole family. 

Building a business brick by brick 

When Lina first decided to become a member of The Center for Community Transformation (CCT), HOPE International’s partner in the Philippines, she was selling traditional rice cake snacks (called kakanin) that she made at home. 

Although she was not a Christian then, Lina joined CCT because she was curious about their Bible studies. As she got to know staff members and read the Word, she slowly began to learn more about God and eventually gave her life to Him.  

It wasn’t long before Lina found herself looking into CCT’s financial services, too. In 1998, Lina took her first loan to support her small business. With a second loan, she expanded her inventory to include frozen products—which proved very popular with her customers. As her confidence grew, Lina continued to take out loans to expand her business into a general store with many offerings for her neighborhood.  

Freedom to be flexible 

When her community’s needs shifted, Lina switched up her business strategy and diversify her inventory.  

Subsequent loans and training from CCT equipped her to build a physical store; add fishing supplies; and begin selling motor parts, generators, gallons of purified drinking water, and chickens to sell eggs.  

“Materially, the Lord has given us so much,” Lina shares. “I am no longer peddling.”  

Today, Lina has bold dreams for the future. She and her husband are renting their current store building, but one day they hope to buy land and build a store of their own.  

Whether those HOPE serves are diversifying inventory, raising livestock, tailoring clothes, or growing crops, we’ve seen the kind of transformation that is possible when men and women use their gifts and talents to provide for their families. 

In this year’s Gifts of HOPE catalog, we’ve highlighted some of the poverty-fighting tools used most commonly by entrepreneurs and farmers that HOPE serves. You can purchase these items symbolically in honor of friends and loved ones as a Christmas gift! 

We invite you to join hands with remarkable men and women like Lina through a Gift of HOPE this Christmas season.

Five moments that shaped how HOPE serves families

This year marks HOPE International’s 25th anniversary, and we’re taking the opportunity to look back, reflect, and celebrate the Lord’s faithfulness. As we consider the story of HOPE, there are certain times that stand out as being pivotal turning points—moments that made a difference in how HOPE serves men and women around the world. Here are five of those break-out moments: Continue Reading…

“Your help is actually hurting us.”

This honest feedback from a Ukrainian pastor sparked the mission of HOPE International—and still guides us as we seek to support a country now in the middle of a devastating war. As we help today, how can the lessons we learned 25 years ago inform us?

Helping in Ukraine without hurting—then and now

During the economic crisis following Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet Union, immediate relief aid helped many. But as this short-term solution persisted, it began to undermine Ukrainians’ ability to stand on their own and build their economy. (Learn more about HOPE’s origin story here.) Continue Reading…

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…

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.

Continue Reading…

Vincent Habiyaremye has a knack for taking broken or seemingly worthless pieces that many of us might discard and transforming them into something functional and whole.

Fifteen years ago, he used those skills as a carpenter, going door to door in his community in Rwanda to find odd jobs and provide for his wife and children. But his days were long and the demand for his services was sporadic.

Vincent dreamed of moving beyond the fluctuation of day labor. He dreamed of supporting his children through school so that they could one day pursue their own dreams. He dreamed of using his God-given gifts to build beautiful things in his community—and creating a business that would empower others to do the same.

Continue Reading…