Click on a name below to read their story.
Several years ago, Marie’s in-laws chased her from her home when her husband died, leaving her and her five daughters in a vulnerable situation.
With her own family already deceased, Marie fled to their church with three of her younger daughters who she had adopted with her husband. The church sheltered them and soon became home to Marie’s two older daughters when they were forced to leave their boarding school because Marie was no longer able to afford their fees.
A life-changing decision
While Marie was living in the church, the savings group ministry through HOPE International began, and a friend encouraged her to join the group. Though at the time she earned 50 cents a day working in fields, Marie understood the value of saving and committed to contributing 25 cents a week. With a $5 loan from her group, she started a small business selling avocados and bananas.
A brighter future
From there, Marie’s life changed dramatically. She now owns a small shop, has purchased land and livestock, employs up to 15 workers a day to farm her land, and has launched a savings group in her community specifically for widows, encouraging them with her transformative story. Marie models compassion and empathy as she even financially assists some members of her deceased husband’s family. Some of her in-laws have been inspired by her to join savings groups and even come to know Christ. While Maire and her five daughters were once without a home, she now says, “We lack nothing in my family; we have clothes, we have food, I even assist other people.”
Marie Ndereyimana shares, “There is no desperate situation that God cannot take you from. I learned that God is a God of widows and orphans.” Marie has been both a widow and an orphan in her lifetime. She is now working to assist and encourage orphans and widows in her community of Giteranyi in Muyinga Province, Burundi.
Today, Jacqueline Mukacyemayire is a successful business owner employing 15 people full time and it all started with her first loan of $100 from VisionFund.
Small investment, big dreams
Her first loan of $100 was shared amongst eight women to start a small sewing business, making dresses with a borrowed machine. With her second loan, an individual loan of $200, she bought her first machine. As her business grew, Jacqueline hired straff, rented space for clothing shops, and bought specialty machines to create finer dresses and shirts. Jacqueline’s new dream is to create a factory right next to her home. “I’d like to employ 12 people in the factory,” she says. “I plan to start soon. I will make fabric instead of importing it from Congo,” she says.
Daughter, Oda, 20, will enter college soon. Her four other children, including an orphan the family adopted, are enjoying success in school. Jacqueline even hired a tutor to ensure their grades stay high.
Jacqueline and her husband, Antoine, recently purchased a sky-blue Toyota RAV4. Antoine uses it to transport cloth to his wife’s businesses. He loves his very successful wife and partner sharing, “I always look at her and thank God. If you want to see how God answered my prayer — look at Jacqueline.”
“To be very honest, if it wasn’t for VisionFund, I wouldn’t be the businessperson I am today,” she says. “My staff is even opening businesses. My children are healthy.”
As a child, Ana Suleika was fascinated by fish, after watching a neighbor raising them. When her family encountered financial troubles in her teen years, Ana launched her own business raising and selling fish for people’s homes with nothing more than a box and a few betta fish. She grew that business until she built her own hatchery. Tragically, her business was broken into three times, driving her to bankruptcy. That is when she met Esperanza.
Rebuilding her dream
Her first loan of $240 allowed her to re-open her business, this time with greater security in place, and resume sales of betta fish for her neighbors’ homes. Ana’s fish business improves community wellbeing, as mosquito lay larvae in the fish bowls which the fish then eat, reducing the mosquito population and along with it, mosquito-borne illnesses. Ana’s two daughters help her with the betta fish and have the opportunity to experience the value of work through their mother.
Supporting community through hardship
When COVID-19 closures forced people to stay home, Ana’s business closed. But with an emergency loan from Esperanza, she quickly opened a colmado in her home, providing basic goods to her community. Hers is the only source of food items and clean water in her neighborhood. She also partnered with her church to begin delivering emergency supplies of food and medicine to neighbors in desperate need due to the effects of COVID-19. As her fish sales slowly begin to increase again, Ana has plans to invest her next loan from Esperanza in expanding her business with other types of fish, hoping to be the largest wholesale and retail fish business in Santo Domingo Norte. Ana’s entrepreneurship not only provides a healthy life for her two daughters who are able to attend school and live in safer housing but also inspires them to pursue their dreams. Ana’s oldest 20-year-old daughter Yennifer started her own business after learning from her mother’s journey as a micro-entrepreneur with Esperanza. Once a young girl fascinated with fish, Ana has become a community leader and change agent for generations.
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