Archives For Client Stories

For countless families around the world, financial need has crushed dreams. Over time, poverty can suppress even the ability to dream. Yet, at HOPE International, we believe in a God who rekindles dreams.

In underserved communities around the HOPE network, nearly 900,000 men and women are harboring dreams like launching new businesses, seeing their children graduate, and owning their own homes. These same families are investing their own time, hard work, and funds—and leveraging HOPE’s financial services—to see those dreams come to fruition.

In these photos, members of the Let’s Fight Poverty savings group in Rwanda share their dreams. Meeting by meeting, cent by cent these savings group members faithfully pool their resources and seek the Lord, their eyes fixed on what could be.

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When Kafelini Daudi’s husband told her to take their children and go ahead of him to Ntcheu, a small village in rural Malawi, she assumed that he would meet them there. But he never did. Unable to locate him, Kafelini had no choice but to move forward. She needed to find a way to provide for her five children, even if they only ate one meal a day. She remembers, “I had no money.” Continue Reading…

Unity Savings Group, Malawi

By Kevin Tordoff, Vice President of Marketing

I recently found myself in Malawi, known colloquially as the Warm Heart of Africa. Driving into a southern community, we stopped by the side of the road by Nixon, a volunteer church facilitator for savings groups. Nixon has been serving in this role for the past four years—almost since HOPE Malawi’s inception. Riding his trusty bicycle, Nixon weaved his way through the dusty dirt roads, guiding us to the home where the savings group meeting was held.

Like many savings groups around the HOPE International network, the Mgwirizano (“unity”) savings group is comprised of 14 multi-generational members. As the meeting began, they enthusiastically shared how the loans from their pooled savings had allowed them to build and repair their homes, how goats had been purchased for breeding and other productive purposes. Their hard work farming small plots of land and selling the produce at market enabled the members to have the funds needed to pay back any loans disbursed from the group’s savings.

Leading HOPE’s marketing department for over a decade, these stories had begun to feel standard—I’d read and heard countless stories like the one the group shared, and I’d even had the opportunity to visit savings groups in the past that looked very similar to this one.

But then, a young man, Samson, from the group arose and directed an unexpected question at me: “Where have you been, HOPE?”

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Each year, HOPE celebrates clients who demonstrate our values of perseverance, compassion, character, and creativity by announcing the Thurman Award winner. Established in honor of HOPE’s first CEO, 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 Peter, this year’s runner up for microfinance institutions!

After a severe case of measles left him blind at age 8, Peter felt he had limited options for his future. In a culture where blindness is highly stigmatized, many blind people are vulnerable to living as beggars. To support their three children, Peter and his wife, Mukanziza—who also lost her sight due to measles as a child—decided to start a business building rental properties.

Prejudiced by his disability, every bank he and Mukaniza approached for a loan turned them down. And that’s when Peter learned of Urwego Bank, HOPE’s microfinance bank in Rwanda.

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In 2009, a group of women in Kirehe, Rwanda, began meeting together. All of them had lost their husbands, but the reason behind their husbands’ absence couldn’t have been more vastly different. Some had lost their husbands as victims of the Rwandan genocide 15 years earlier; others had husbands serving prison sentences as perpetrators of the genocide’s violence. At a time when great fear and hatred existed between ethnic groups, the women’s act of gathering together across ethnic lines was revolutionary.

When their church introduced the savings group program through HOPE International in 2011, the women decided to start saving together, naming their group Abavandimwe, an affectionate Kinyarwandan term for “siblings.” Continue Reading…

In Rwanda, HOPE International serves over 250,000 savings group members alongside our local church partners. About 35 percent of those members are men, many of whom are fathers. When asked about the impact of being part of his savings group, Diogene, a father of three children, commented on the familial and personal change he’s seen: “It’s like everything about me and my family changed after joining this savings group. It is as if we are a new family. I have become a new man.”

Meet three remarkable Rwandan dads who, like Diogene, are finding support and community in their savings groups as they grow in their faith and care for their families. Continue Reading…