“Before, there were problems in my family; many issues and lots of confusion. I came to know Jesus, and now my family has changed. I now have a lot of friends, and there is no more confusion.” This kind of statement was not uncommon, as we spoke with nearly one hundred clients throughout Malawi that were a part of a HOPE International Savings and Credit Association (SCA). This particular group had named themselves “We Are Together,” a proclamation that they were committed to one another and to experiencing life change together.
The groups are comprised predominantly of women, and they meet together weekly to save their money, lend their saved funds to members of the group, and pray for each other. “We Are Together” has a vision to save their money in order to buy a goat for each member of their group, buy other farming necessities, and share the message of Christ with those in their community.
Like other groups throughout the country, this group supports one another as they gather together and learn how to save their money, grow their business, and have positive impact on their families and on others in their village. Because of the money they are able to save and to borrow as a result of these savings groups, men and women are able to afford their children’s school fees, build homes, care for livestock, buy iron for their roofs rather than thatch, and expand their businesses. Families who had nothing now have a safe place to set asides savings. And, as a result of their newfound friendships and comradery, they have access to a prayerful and supportive community of individuals cheering them on and helping them find success.
In these communities, it’s easy to look around and focus on the apparent manifestations of poverty; no paved streets, little food, little access to water, no sanitation in some places… and yet, what we found as we engaged in conversation with those participating in the SCA groups was in stark contrast to what met the eye. We saw hope; we saw dreams both being birthed and coming true; we saw joy and laughter; we saw families being made whole; we saw authentic friendship and community being formed; we saw prayers being answered.
I’d like to invite you to join us on November 13th at 5:30pm at Big Canyon Country Club as we gather together to rally around the cause of Christ-centered microfinance and savings groups, in order to raise funds for individuals like those I recently met in Malawi. Our goal for the evening is to empower 14,706* entrepreneurs by raising $500,000. The funds will go directly to HOPE International. To register, you can do so on our website.
*Based on the empowerment index, which estimates HOPE’s investment per client based on clients served in 2013 in the HOPE network.