There’s an interview question I like to ask: Have you always known you had these skills? Ladis Ramirez’s answer surprised me.

In September, I traveled to Paraguay to interview clients of HOPE’s newest microfinance partner, Diaconía. Sitting outside of a community center in Cevallos Cuesta, Paraguay, I heard the hum of chatting and laughter inside. Working on colorful clothing and accessories, over 40 women were attending a vocational course—part of Diaconía’s holistic model of development. Across from me, Ladis showed off a creamy-white sweater and intricately-designed sandals. Both humble and enthusiastic, her eyes shone as she described how she made each item. Continue Reading…

Around the world, we see creative, industrious men and women committed to providing for their families and serving their communities through meaningful work. In this year’s gift catalog, we’ve included some of the tools HOPE International-network clients use in some of the most common jobs in the developing world: animal rearing, farming, tailoring, and store ownership. In this series, we’ll dive into some of the challenges faced by those in that profession. 

In the developing world, farming is a way of life. In many of the countries where HOPE serves, smallholder farmers provide a significant portion of the country’s food supply. But as crucial as smallholder farmers are for global food production, it’s a challenging occupation held by some of the world’s most vulnerable. The World Bank estimates that 78 percent of families living in poverty around the world rely on agriculture to make a living. Continue Reading…

In the developing world, children are often among the most vulnerable. Living on less than $1.90 a day, an estimated 385 million children live in extreme poverty, experiencing chronic malnutrition, food shortages, and lack of clean water.

HOPE believes one of the best ways to care for children living in poverty is to empower their parents. Using HOPE-network services, parents and caregivers start savings accounts or build up small businesses, providing for their children’s needs themselves rather than relying on outside charities or services. Continue Reading…

By Maddie Conley, Social Media Intern

Each year, HOPE International receives hundreds of applicants for our summer internship program. Those accepted work alongside HOPE staff in a variety of departments doing work that has an impact across the globe. This past summer, 11 interns joined the HOPE team in Lancaster, PA. Some commuted no more than 30 minutes from home, while others left family and friends in other states. Continue Reading…

Header image: slum neighborhood of Asunción, Paraguay

In the 1990s, the World Bank interviewed more than 60,000 individuals living in low-income countries, asking one primary question: What is poverty?

When asked this question, Western audiences often respond with what those in poverty lack: food, money, clean water, etc. But the families interviewed by the World Bank described poverty in much more multidimensional terms, naming the lack of options, strained relationships, low self-esteem, and feelings of helplessness.

A HOPE staff member once asked a savings group in Rwanda the same question—how do you define poverty? Most of their descriptions framed their experience of poverty as emotional and relational: Continue Reading…

Farmers in rural, agricultural areas of Burundi face a number of challenges unique to their remote location, including limited access to educational opportunities and financial exclusion:

40 percent of Burundian adults living in rural areas qualify as “illiterate*”[1]

5.3 percent of Burundian farmers hold an account with a formal financial institution[2]

Yet it is precisely among underserved communities that Turame Community Finance, HOPE’s microfinance institution in Burundi, seeks to work. Clients living in rural villages hold over 90 percent of Turame’s current outstanding loans.

Unlike a traditional bank, however, Turame’s mission goes beyond financial transactions, offering biblically based business training to its clients, and even to those who do not hold an account.

But Turame had a challenge: how to share robust stewardship training with those who may not only be accessing financial services for the first time, but may also have limited reading skills. Continue Reading…