Archives For Staff / Travels

by Jeff Rutt, Founder & Board Chair, HOPE International; Founder & CEO, Keystone Custom Homes

As a homebuilder by trade, I’ve been privileged to walk alongside thousands of families in the homeownership process. When I met Rosalie in the small city of Tagatay, Philippines—where I traveled to witness the work of HOPE’s partner, the Center for Community Transformation (CCT)—it wasn’t the first time I saw someone moved to tears by the idea of owning a home. But Rosalie’s tears were different. Continue Reading…

by Anna Hofmann (third from left), Writing and Research Intern

Listening is hard. True listening is an active and engaged process, we’re told.

But listening doesn’t feel that difficult or demanding. Yet, I’m learning that listening—true listening—doesn’t just require my full attention; it’s also risky. Here’s what I mean: Continue Reading…

by Robert Morris, HOPE Savings Group Technical Advisor

Savings groups are often described in simple terms: a small number of people who save their money together and take small loans from those savings. But when you look a little deeper—and hear what these facilitators were describing—groups are much more complex than they first appear. Some of the issues they face are complicated, like hedging, trading in futures, and calculating inflationary risk! Continue Reading…

by Jeff Rutt, Founder & Board Chair, HOPE International; Founder & CEO, Keystone Custom Homes

Earlier this year, I was privileged to travel to the Philippines to see the work of HOPE’s partner, The Center for Community Transformation.

The Philippines is made up of more than 7,000 islands and comprises over 100 diverse ethnic groups. I spent time among the Waray people living in eastern Samar, the easternmost part of the country. Within the Philippines, the Warays have a reputation for never backing down from a fight, but the combination of endemic poverty and natural disasters has given many the fight of a lifetime. But I also see how savings groups are giving them a fighting chance, helping members gain stability in what the World Risk Index rates as the third most disaster-prone country in the world. Continue Reading…

If American people see that kid, they will think he’s really poor.”

My Rwandan colleague’s words jerked me out of my reverie.

Bumping along a rural Rwandan road, my eyes tried to absorb it all—the undulating hills, the downy clouds that dotted the wide-open sky, the goats and chickens. My eyes caught on a little boy running in front of a row of houses.

The little boy wore only a pair of shabby shorts that appeared to have once been khaki-colored. Reddish dust covered his body from his cheeks to his feet. I noticed that he was barefoot. Continue Reading…

Mauvalyn Bowen - Wedding

A passion for entrepreneurship can be kindled in a number of different ways.

For some, it’s the classic childhood lemonade stand that initially piques interest; others point to a formative internship or mentor; and for others, it’s building upon an earlier innovation. For Mauvalyn Bowen, a member of HOPE’s local board in Minnesota, it was riding on the back of a donkey as she and her mother (pictured above, along with Mauvlyn’s father and husband) made their weekly trek to market. Continue Reading…