Archives For women

Across all aspects of life, women and girls face greater barriers to opportunity and obstacles to providing for themselves, their families, and their communities. We believe that God has created both men and women to be powerful image bearers and agents of change in their homes, communities, and nations. Because women have more frequently lacked these opportunities, more than half of the individuals HOPE serves are women.

This year on International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating stories of impact, resilience, and transformation in the women we’re privileged to serve around the world.

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by Robert Gonza, Quality Assurance Officer (HOPE Rwanda)

When I started working with HOPE Rwanda, I didn’t know if I believed in savings groups.

My job in quality assurance includes interacting with our field partner staff, training them about quality assurance processes like reporting documents, attending monthly mentoring meetings, and visiting and encouraging saving groups. I enjoyed my job and my team, but I was not always very sure how savings groups were transforming people’s lives.

Almost anyone you ask at HOPE Rwanda will be quick to share the statistics of how the saving groups are transforming lives—how many families we serve, how much they’ve saved, the number of cows, goats, and pigs they’ve purchased with their savings. Three years later, I now myself could share all these things. And I thought that the numbers were the most important things about these savings groups.

But I was wrong. They are about way more than just the savings, the number of loans, or those who attended the meeting—or pigs or cows. Continue Reading…

So God created humankind in his image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:27 (NRSV)

At HOPE International, we affirm the inherent dignity and worth of women, and we’re grateful to be one of many organizations working to remove the barriers that often keep women from realizing their full God-given potential.

We’re privileged to witness so many stories of women who are using financial tools to tackle poverty for their families and communities. As their stories demonstrate, these three women are loving God and their neighbors with boldness, action, and creativity. In the words of Proverbs 31, they are eshet chayil—”women of valor.” Continue Reading…

 

It’s no secret that, around the world, life can be inordinately difficult for women. From violence to unequal pay to limited access to land ownership, women face unique challenges.

At HOPE International, we believe in the inherent dignity and worth of women, and we’re grateful to be one of many organizations that are working to remove barriers for women around the world. This International Women’s Day, we invite you to explore these other organizations that are working for women’s equality around the world. Continue Reading…

Kerline Jean Louis

“Before I was part of the savings group, I wasn’t smiling.”

Kerline Jean Louis’ small restaurant is located alongside the bustling highway in Haiti that connects her rural town of Jeanton II with the capital city of Port-au-Prince. The business is perfectly positioned to appeal to the hungry travelers riding the colorful taxis (known affectionately as tap taps), buses, and motorcycles passing by.

A true businesswoman, Kerline likes to adjust her menu according to customer preferences: “It’s really based on demand—some people like grits, some people like rice and beans,” she explains. But before joining a savings group last year, she didn’t have money to purchase the ingredients required to make her most popular dishes. Without reliable access to the necessary ingredients, her business position became precarious.

Then, Kerline’s landlord unexpectedly announced he’d be selling her home; if she wanted to stay there, she’d have to purchase it for the 25,000 gourdes ($388 USD) he was asking for it. As a widow and single mother of three, Kerline is the sole provider for her household. She already struggled to have enough to pay for food, school fees, and rent—there was no way she could afford to buy her home outright. Moving elsewhere offered challenges, too; her home is situated just across the street from her restaurant, and the thought of leaving a space that had been a source of comfort and stability following her husband’s death was difficult to consider.

Kerline and her children were facing the possibility of homelessness.

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Therese Mukabera

By Sarah Ann Schultz, Marketing Communications Specialist

When Therese Mukabera received her first loan from Urwego Bank, HOPE’s microfinance institution in Rwanda, she decided to start a business burning bricks, weatherproofing them to withstand Rwanda’s heavy rains.

But as a woman attempting to enter a traditionally male profession, she found herself encountering roadblocks to formally starting her business. Day after day, Therese watched men around her receive the necessary permissions to form their enterprises. And day after day, she was passed over, hampered by the common belief that brick burning was men’s work.

Around the world, life is often harder for women than for their brothers, husbands, and sons. Women are less likely to be formally employed than men—and when they are, women are often paid less. Women shoulder greater responsibility for housework, food preparation, water collection, and childcare. Less than 20 percent of the world’s landowners are women. When natural disasters strike, more women die than men.

But here’s the good news: When women are empowered, things change.

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