Homes for HOPE Trip 2022
I and a group of 6 other HOPE supporters had the privilege earlier this month to visit the Dominican Republic and experience firsthand the mission and impact of our partner, Esperanza International.
It was incredible to meet Oleida who started out with a loan of $140 to open a convenience store. After growing her business over the course of 10 loan cycles, she is using her current loan of $2400 to build a house with a storefront in it. Her plan is to move the store to her home and rent out the current space she owns to another business owner. This will provide passive income for herself and her family! Oleida is a savvy businesswoman who’s not only employing people in her community to build her home but is also providing opportunities for others to open businesses just like she did after receiving her first loan!
We were honored to meet Patricia who started a business making, delivering, and selling sausage from her home. Her first loan got her going preparing 15lbs of sausage per week. 25 loan cycles later she now sells 200lbs of sausage per week, and because she had the ability to pay school fees from her business profits, all 5 of her children worked hard and graduated! Her home is an unofficial gathering place for the children in her community and she is a great spiritual encouragement to everyone she encounters.
Julissa had always dreamt of starting a primary school that was open to all, regardless of a student’s ethnicity or learning disability. Her husband, Jesus, left his job to support his wife in her dream and they opened the school together. They used 3 loans to build more classrooms and improve accommodations for their burgeoning student body. Their palpable joy and passion were so clearly evident to us as they continue working to cultivate this environment for holistic flourishing.
Elizabeth, who owned a fashion store, told us how important integrity is when running your own business. “You have to be committed in order to serve your customers and provide them with the best products at the most reasonable price,” she explained. If she doesn’t have walk-up customers, she’ll call people in her community and deliver what they need. She plans to use her next loan to finish the floor in her store and replace her corrugated metal storefront with glass so potential customers can see what she sells.
We met Silverio who runs a hair salon that is a fixture in his community. He treats his customers with dignity and cares well for their needs. His wife Tati opened a little sandwich and chicken shop right in front of her husband’s salon and they enjoy serving their community together on an active, busy street in Santo Domingo.
But what was most encouraging to me was the unplanned visits. Often organizations like HOPE will only show you their best when you’re on a trip like this. However, it seemed as though everywhere we went there were people who would light up when they saw their loan officer walking through the street and would be eager to show us their businesses. Do you light up with joy when you see your loan officer? It was such a testimony to the thoughtfulness and care Esperanza staff demonstrate to the people they serve. One such gentleman named Manuelico introduced himself and then took us to his home to show off the improvements he was making on it through a loan from Esperanza – including a seven-foot-deep cistern he hand-dug to provide his family with clean running water!
If you have been considering partnering with Homes for HOPE in any way, I strongly encourage you to join us on our next Homes for HOPE trip to see the work for yourself. It truly is one of the very best things we have to offer. Please enjoy this video recap of our trip: