Part 1: Immigrant Father Sets the Foundation

Apr 10, 2023

When Esperanza International, HOPE’s microfinance partner in the Dominican Republic, first arrived to Batey Margarita in 2006, Jacobo Benjamin was the first of his neighbors to take out a loan. Previously, Jacobo had worked in the nearby sugarcane fields, cutting and processing the crop. But when the processing company announced it was closing, Jacobo knew he would need to find a new a new source of income.

With his loan from Esperanza, Jacobo opened a colmado, or corner store, allowing him to provide for his family and meet a key need for his neighbors. 

Jacobo says, “Before Esperanza came to the community, we had a lot of needs. We didn’t have stores; we didn’t have a place to buy things. …With that colmado through the loans of Esperanza, we were able to survive.” 

Over time, Jacobo noticed an opportunity to service the cars in his and other nearby bateys. With a loan of $200, he converted the colmado into a car parts store, creating new jobs for his community in the process.  

In the 16 years since Jacobo Benjamin joined Esperanza, dozens of other community members have started businesses—including his own daughter, Yasquina. Because of Jacobo’s diligent savings over the years, his daughters Yasquina became the first person from Batey Margarita to attend university. Read more about Yasquina’s story next month.   

You can help parents in underserved communities, like Jacobo, build a foundation for future generations! If you’d like more information, please contact Kirstin Dhlamini at

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