As you read how Gisele, Mamola, Vera, and Danilo are using their God-given talents and dreams in transformative ways, we invite you to come alongside other HOPE-network clients by using what God has placed in your hands to give a Gift of HOPE.
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As a young girl, Gisele spent countless hours in her mother’s tailor shop. Eager to imitate her mother’s skill, Gisele would cut up fabrics and design models of her own. With help from her father, Gisele later enrolled in sewing school and eventually opened a tailoring business in Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo. Despite her beautifully elaborate designs, Gisele’s profits weren’t enough to support her family, and she often had to use her business capital for their expenses, jeopardizing her business and stymying progress.
Seeking to diversify her business, Gisele received and repaid seven loans from HOPE Congo over the course of five years to expand her tailoring business by purchasing fabrics, sewing materials, and an electric sewing machine. Ever the entrepreneur, Gisele also used loans to expand into a new business selling smoked fish, small cakes, and foufou, a cassava-based Congolese dish.
Now, she is able to provide for her family using only the profits of her businesses. Reflecting on the impact of her relationship with HOPE Congo, Gisele says, “HOPE is the one who came to give me wings so that I can fly.”
Gisele’s transformation has gone beyond the physical. She shares that her community once saw her as unreliable. Without recognizing the value of her work, Gisele would often miss appointments with her clients, and her delivery times were always delayed. Through participating in Discovery Bible Study, opt-in Bible studies for HOPE clients, Gisele recognized the importance of diligence and integrity in her work. As she has intentionally sought to honor her clients’ time and create quality clothes, she has come to be seen as a trustworthy businesswoman by her community.
Having seen the ways God transformed her own life, Gisele is eager to give back, opening up her home to host a Discovery Bible Study group. Using her sewing skills, Gisele makes bed sheets and wool outfits for babies in Missafou, the village where she was born. As a single mother, Gisele knows the challenges of raising children on her own, and she dreams of opening a sewing school in the village to help unmarried mothers become financially self-sufficient.
Gisele also dreams of growing to become a successful fashion designer and of passing on the same love of sewing that she learned from her mother to her children.
The bright colors and imaginative patterns of high-quality Congolese fabrics make Gisele’s expert designs come to life.
Congolese markets are filled with vendors selling produce, meat, and fish. A charcoal grill enables entrepreneurs like Gisele to smoke fish and make foufou, a staple food in Congo.
An electric sewing machine enables a talented seamstress like Gisele to efficiently produce professionally tailored pieces, leading to increased production and income.
Even small sewing shops need room to measure, sew, and display their creations. A workshop is key to growth, and $40 can rent a small room for a month.
Bustling with customers, Mamola’s house is a center of activity in her Dominican community. Neighbors gather to purchase staples from her colmado, a small convenience store she operates from her front room. Every other week, members of Mamola’s community bank meet in her home to fellowship, study Scripture, and repay their loans.
Mamola has been involved in business since she was young, learning the importance of hard work from her father. Widowed with five children and 12 grandchildren of her own, Mamola hopes to pass on this legacy of industry and ingenuity.
In 2008, Mamola took out a $177 loan from Esperanza International, HOPE’s local partner, to expand her business buying and reselling dishes. Realizing her community would benefit more from groceries, Mamola used subsequent loans to open and expand her colmado. “I started with everything,” she remembers. “Just a tiny bit, but a little of everything.” As her store has grown, she stocks her shelves with larger quantities of rice, coffee, fruit, sugar, and other staples.
Mamola appreciates Esperanza’s biblical teachings, especially the opportunity to pray together. She says she has learned more about her faith through her community bank’s time in the Word: “The Lord is my God; He is my everything, because He is the one that helps me.”
Several years ago, Mamola’s husband got sick and eventually passed away. In addition to grieving his loss, Mamola faced overwhelming medical fees that left her in debt. She shares that she overcame this challenge with the help of Esperanza, the extra income from her colmado, and her five children.
A well-respected matriarch in her community, Mamola has connected several women with Esperanza. With her income, Mamola helps care for her grandchildren and has made improvements to her home, replacing the walls with sturdier concrete. Hardworking, humble, and thankful, Mamola dreams of expanding her business and passing it on to the next generation—along with her legacy of faith and hard work.
Because so many Dominicans start the day brewing strong coffee grown in the country’s mountain regions, stocking this popular item is a must for any corner store.
God Provides, a six-part video series, equips loan officers to compellingly share the Gospel with clients and their neighbors using rich, relatable storytelling.
The Dominican Republic is abundant in papayas, mangoes, and other tropical fruits. $75 can purchase five boxes of fruit for colmado owners to resell in their neighborhood.
In the Dominican Republic, water is often unsafe to drink, leading to disease and chronic stomach problems. Colmado owners like Mamola stock water jugs to provide their communities access to clean water.
Living in the rural village of Crasnoarmeiscoe, Moldova, Vera Matveiciuc lost her husband several years ago, leaving her to support their three young daughters on her own. To supplement her $100 monthly salary from her job at a local bank, Vera raised produce and livestock to help feed her family and sell the surplus at market.
In Moldova, one of the poorest countries in Europe, poverty is concentrated in rural areas like Vera’s, where many families live without heat, running water, or nutritious food. Three years ago, Vera didn’t think her family would survive another harsh Moldovan winter without the money needed to insulate and heat their home.
That December, Vera learned about Invest-Credit, HOPE’s local partner, and took out a loan to install insulation and a furnace. “The first loan from Invest-Credit saved my family,” she says. “We could not go through another winter without making changes to our home.”
Vera used the remainder of her first loan to invest in seeds and livestock for the coming season. As she repaid her loans, Vera took out three more, using them to expand the variety of produce and livestock she’s able to sell. She bought ducks; chickens; and a male and female pig, which produce around 15-20 piglets a year. Vera also expanded the produce she grows to include corn, beans, peppers, tomatoes, cabbages, walnuts, and sunflowers.
With her increased income, Vera tithes to her church on a more regular basis. Affectionately called Mother Theresa by her neighbors, Vera gives generously when she sees a need in her village. She has also sent her two oldest daughters to college, and she’s saving to send her third. Vera wants to see her village grow and prosper, and she praises God for Invest-Credit’s role in this dream. So far, she has brought 14 people to Invest-Credit—more than any other client. “Invest-Credit’s loans have opened up opportunities for my family and myself that weren’t there before,” she says. “They gave us new life.”
Approximately 90 percent of Moldova’s livestock is owned and managed by small-scale farmers. Young animals help farmers like Vera expand their herds.
Chicken eggs provide a steady source of protein for families, as well as an additional source of income, as farmers sell excess eggs in the local market.
Sunflower seeds can be pressed into oil and used in a variety of applications, making this one of Moldova’s top exports. $100 is enough to buy 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of seeds.
Livestock is a key component of food security in rural Moldova, providing nutrition and income. Producing 15-20 piglets a year, a pig is a worthy investment.
An entrepreneur for many years, Danilo took out his first loan from the Center for Community Transformation (CCT), HOPE’s partner in the Philippines, to start an ice cream business. Faced with insufficient sales and the difficult physical demands of using a manual ice cream maker, Danilo closed his business a year later. Rather than remain discouraged, Danilo capitalized on a new Filipino food trend selling siomai, a tasty Chinese dumpling. He explains, “Unlike with ice cream, siomai sales are high in cold or hot weather, because people eat it on its own, as a snack, or paired with rice for lunch or supper.”
Launching his new business with personal savings and a loan from CCT, Danilo developed his own dumpling recipe and dipping sauces, using local ingredients he can get year-round. Danilo has taken out and repaid three subsequent loans, which he used to purchase kitchen equipment and install a water pump in his yard. With a delicious, convenient product, his business has now expanded to 12 mobile vendors, who cycle around their city selling siomai. Using the profits from his business, Danilo built a second floor onto his home and is providing a better education for his three children.
In addition to the material sufficiency he’s experienced, Danilo is excited about both the spiritual and social impact he’s had through his relationship with CCT. Wanting to share the same opportunities he received through CCT with others, Danilo invited ice cream vendors he used to work with to join his business, and he regularly purchases ingredients for his siomai from his neighbors. Danilo reflects that through CCT, he has provided much more than stable incomes, saying, “The impact of CCT on our spiritual lives has been great! Because of the weekly Bible studies, we have been able to invite our workers to go to church with us, and their lives have been transformed.”
Seen by his neighbors as a hardworking businessman and responsible father, Danilo is a role model in his community. He dreams of expanding his siomai business to the city where he was born and celebrates that his children have a bright future. Recognizing God’s faithful provision in his life, he says, “Thanks be to God that He is always by our side.”
As clients meet to receive loans and support one another, they also learn of a Savior who loves them and knows them by name. Bibles help share this Good News with others.
Because Filipinos typically eat rice at nearly every meal, it is essential that food vendors keep this staple item well stocked. A large sack of rice is about 110 pounds.
A bicycle is a convenient and efficient mode of transportation for food vendors to travel around the city, reaching more people with their products.
An industrial stove allows entrepreneurs like Danilo to prepare large quantities of food, helping them decrease time in the kitchen while increasing output and sales.