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After her husband died nearly 10 years ago, Jean began growing and selling assorted vegetables to provide for her seven children. In Malawi, where 88 percent of the population lives on less than $2 a day, Jean often struggled to put food on the table or pay school fees.

When Jean’s church began training groups of people to save money together, she became one of the founding members of Chivumbulutso, meaning “Revelation,” savings group. A proud pioneer of this ministry, Jean describes the financial and spiritual transformation she has experienced: “I became a Christian a long time ago and have been reading the Bible since my youth days, but it had never occurred to me that the Scripture can help me on financial matters.”

Prior to joining the savings group, Jean struggled to manage her finances, remaining in constant debt. Now, saving approximately $2 each week, she owns a piece of land for farming and has hired several workers. Jean dreams of growing her business and opening a grocery store.

Her spiritual life has also flourished through prayer and meditation on the Word of God. “My knowledge and understanding of the Scriptures as the living Word of God speaking directly to me has increased greatly through the sharing of the Word and experiences which we have at our group every time we meet,” Jean explains. Now, she views communication with God as a two-way street, saying, “God speaks directly to me through His Word while I speak directly to Him through prayer.”

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Each year, HOPE celebrates clients who demonstrate HOPE’s values of perseverance, compassion, character, and creativity by announcing the Thurman Award. Established in honor of HOPE’s first CEO and his wife, 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 Anasitaziya, this year’s honorable mention from Africa!

The challenges nearly-80-year-old Anasitaziya Kankwanzi has overcome would be enough for several lifetimes. In her 30s, Anasitaziya’s eyesight began to falter. Doctors provided little help, but she retained enough vision to function independently. Two decades later, when she was nearly 60 years old, her husband was killed in the Rwandan genocide, leaving Anasitaziya as one of nearly 50,000 widows in the nation. Anasitaziya survived the genocide hidden in a dark room. When she finally stepped out into the light, her vision was gone. “I had gone completely blind,” she recounts.

Pressing on

Anasitaziya’s life has been marked by determination and hope. Though widowed and blind, she resumed her farming career by hiring workers to dig and plant for her. Despite her hard work, there were some who took advantage of Anasitaziya’s vulnerability, pilfering her crops to feed their livestock or stealing from her home.

Even in hardship, Anasitaziya never succumbed to despair or stopped working to improve her life. Instead, she takes her needs to the great Provider. “I never lose hope. I am comforted by the Word of God. I know God is with me. … My God is really faithful. He does not let me suffer.”

Never alone

When a church leader invited Anasitaziya to join a savings group in 2011, she liked the idea. Though her farm provided enough to pay her workers and meet her most basic needs, Anasitaziya saw many ways in which her life could improve as a savings group member. Her home was gradually crumbling, with stones falling from her walls every day, but it would take a lump sum—which she had never had—to reinforce the structure. “I know I can do anything through Christ, so I joined others and we started saving,” Anasitaziya remembers.

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Join HOPE in celebrating the clients featured in this year’s gift catalog, men and women using the gifts God has placed in their hands—talents, dreams, and hard work—to provide for their families and give back to their communities.

Living in the rural village of Crasnoarmeiscoe, Moldova, Vera Matveiciuc lost her husband several years ago, leaving her to support their three young daughters on her own. To supplement her $100 monthly salary from her job at a local bank, Vera raised produce and livestock to help feed her family and sell the surplus at market.

In Moldova, one of the poorest countries in Europe, poverty is concentrated in rural areas like Vera’s, where many families live without heat, running water, or nutritious food. Three years ago, Vera didn’t think her family would survive another harsh Moldovan winter without the money needed to insulate and heat their home.

That December, Vera learned about Invest-Credit, HOPE’s local partner, and took out a loan to install insulation and a furnace. “The first loan from Invest-Credit saved my family,” she says. “We could not go through another winter without making changes to our home.”

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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...

Muti accessed her first loan of $49 from Turame, HOPE’s partner in Burundi, three years ago. Since then, she has taken 11 loans to help grow her business cultivating tomatoes and selling bananas, tomatoes, and goats. She is currently repaying a $105 loan. When her business began, she did not have the funds to raise goats, but now she can feed and fatten them before reselling the goats for a profit. Although her husband passed away, Muti has been able to provide for her three children and three grandchildren. “Turame has helped my family fight poverty,” she says.


Juduh’s son was just four years old when her husband became ill and passed away. From that point, she alone was responsible to provide for him. In 2001, she joined a savings group in Rwanda, where she received support, a safe place to accumulate her money, and the opportunity to receive loans from her group. Today she continues to contribute 40 cents a week to her group’s savings. She accessed a loan of $86, which she used to purchase bananas and beans. She can buy a bunch of bananas or a bag of beans for $17, reselling them for a profit. She now earns $11 a week and can afford health insurance and her son’s secondary school fees. Juduh has joined a Bible study and has come to depend on the fellowship she experiences in her group.