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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.

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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.

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For years, a group of young people has built a reputation for contributing to violent attacks in Brazzaville, the Republic of Congo’s capital. “These young people sow terror in the city,” says Ghislaine Matondo, who lives in the city with her husband, mother, and sister. Yet little has been done to address the danger, she explains: “Juvenile delinquency in our neighborhoods is a sensitive matter [to which] even politicians do not dare give concrete answers.”

In 2020, Ghislaine took out her fifth loan from HOPE Congo to start a new venture: Merci pour la Bénédiction (“grateful for the blessing”), a business manufacturing sofas. But she says that the Lord gave her more than a new business idea; He also gave her a vision to address the challenge of gang violence in her community. Continue Reading…

Before joining a HOPE Burundi savings group in 2016, Isaac Nduwayezu lived as an outsider, relying on his hunting skills and talismans from his father, a witch doctor.

Raised a hunter in a village that saw hunting as archaic, Isaac was forced to carry home communal rejection and shame with each capture. 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…

It wasn’t easy for Juvita Cerron to set foot in a church for her first savings group meeting in Comas, Peru. As an unmarried mother expecting her second child, she feared the group would be a place of judgment—but her drive to meet her children’s needs eclipsed her concern for what others might think. As the group welcomed her warmly, their response surprised Juvita: “Through joining a savings group, I found a community that loved me for who I was and reminded me that God loved me too.”

Juvita was still new to the group when her daughter was born three months prematurely. Her savings group embraced her fully, providing support and prayers for her family. After months of constant medical attention, her daughter, Julieta, was near death. Amid crisis, Juvita found new life in Jesus Christ, putting her trust in His faithfulness rather than the relationships or alcohol on which she once relied. Despite doctors’ warnings that her daughter might never fully recover, Juvita rejoices that the Lord miraculously healed her, and now, two years later, Julieta is strong and healthy.

Investing in dreams

Before becoming a mother, Juvita spent two years studying administration at the university level. When she withdrew from college to care for her first child, she had no income and relied entirely on support from her family and her son’s father. She didn’t know how to break the cycle of dependency and provide for her own children—though she longed to do so. Continue Reading…