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After starting a mushroom business in Harare, Zimbabwe, Raymond Chengata dreamed of expanding his business beyond the local market. But with the cost of taking loans from the bank, he couldn’t access supplies that would allow him to continue growing his business.

In addition to this financial barrier, Raymond’s business dream was further challenged by costly setbacks when a disease killed most of the mushroom crop. Continue Reading…

What is the most significant change members experience while participating in their savings group? HOPE’s partner in Zimbabwe, Central Baptist Church, recently asked 120 members this question. Through drawings and testimonies, members shared stories of strengthened community, deepened faith, and greater provision. We’ve included just a few of their responses below.

Merina found living water

I have been blessed through the savings group. I have found living water. I have learned the reality of Psalm 1:1-6 in my life, and even in trials I will persevere knowing I have recourse and resource in Him.


Makina learned to value relationships

I have learned the value of being in relationships with others and valuing them in the relationships.


Gogo Mutandiko now views herself as a steward

Gogo (grandma) Mutandiko says her group taught her not only the value of saving money but also that everything we have comes from the Lord. She saw that the land around her house was lying idle, so she used the space to plant vegetables.

I have planted a garden at my place. I now relate with creation as a steward, and it has helped me a great deal because I save money I used to spend on veggies. And I sometimes earn from the sales of the produce.

Gogo Mutandiko

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Speaking with Gladys Mugabe is like turning the pages of a Zimbabwean history book. She readily reflects on the early days of the country’s independence in the ‘80s; the prosperous days of the early ‘90s, when the industrial sector of Bulawayo—her home and Zimbabwe’s second largest city—was thriving; and the late 2000s, when the former “breadbasket of Africa” became infamous for bread lines.

Zimbabwe has experienced a number of shocks to its economy in recent decades, including controversial land reforms, the demolition of urban slums, drought, and hyperinflation. In 2008, monthly inflation neared 80 billion percent; in 2009, Zimbabwe adopted the U.S. dollar in an attempt to restore stability and reverse economic decline.

In some ways, the country appears as a shadow of its former self. Driving through Bulawayo’s business district, you’ll see shuttered factories—some emptied entirely, others inhabited by squatters—street lights that no longer illuminate, and padlocked doors. Against this backdrop of economic collapse stands the mechanism of most Zimbabweans’ survival: the vibrant informal economy.

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by Lori Oberholtzer, Field Communications Manager

Communication Fellows

One year, one camera, and one fiery passion. That’s all it took for Mara, Drake, and Joanne to say “YES!”

At HOPE, we want to capture stories of Christ’s transformative love from the field and share those stories with you. Enter Mara, Drake, and Joanne, HOPE’s first three field communications fellows! Their mission (which they chose to accept) is to listen to, document, and share the stories of the clients we serve—so others can hear about the life-changing, transformative power of Christ-centered microenterprise development.

Before sharing the stories they’ve collected, we want to introduce our fellows. (Fellow is just a fancy word for long-term volunteer.)

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When Tom Rakabopa and Central Baptist Church first reached out to families living in poverty in Harare, Zimbabwe, they distributed food and other items to fill the great needs they saw in their community. But as he saw some of the unintended consequences of this work, Tom began dreaming of ways they could transition to long-term development. That dream came true when a partnership with HOPE International helped Central Baptist Church begin savings and credit associations (SCAs) in their community, training groups of individuals to save their own money as a safety net in emergencies, to start or expand a business, and to pay routine expenses like school fees.



I recently had the opportunity to travel to Zimbabwe to visit savings and credit association (SCA) programs in person. In the local language, Shona, the groups are called Ndasunungurwa Trust, meaning, "I have been set free." As I heard the stories of many clients' transformation in Zimbabwe, it became evident that this translation was extremely telling of their life stories. During one meeting, group members were given the opportunity to share their stories with the rest of the group and the visitors in the room. It was silent for a moment as individuals gathered their thoughts. I looked around, thinking of my own apprehension of speaking in front of a group, and wondered who would go first. Continue Reading...