Greetings HOPE International global team. My name is Ghena Russu and I have the privilege to lead Invest Credit (HOPE’s partner) in Moldova. At this time I want to share a short story about Ruslan Vicol, one of the clients Invest Credit served in 2020.
Since launching his brick stove and fireplace business more than five years ago Ruslan Vicol has never repeated the same design. He takes great pride in matching each stove to his customer’s unique style and needs, designing every intricate piece to be a functional and beautiful centerpiece of a home or business. Ruslan, a father of five children, also works as a beekeeper but needed a more stable source of income to provide for his growing family. Brickmaking had been a hobby, but to turn it into a successful business Ruslan reached out to Invest Credit, HOPE’s partner in Moldova. With three loans, he has been able to purchase the necessary tools to increase his efficiency and serve more customers. Initially hesitant to borrow, Ruslan is not proud to work with Invest Credit and has recommended loans to other entrepreneurs in need of support. He shared with the Invest Credit staff,
“Before I contacted you, I was ashamed to borrow money, but if one works hard and is able to pay it back, it is not a problem. It is a joy and a hope in my life and work to collaborate with you.”
Living in an underpopulated village, Ruslan’s family was given a house – an incredible blessing – but the home needed significant repairs. His increased income has enabled them to install windows and doors as well as furnish the home. Ruslan, a member of his church’s worship team, is quick to share his blessings with others. When he learned that a disabled woman in his village was living without a functioning stove, he considered it a blessing to build a new stove for her home, free of charge. Ruslan explains the employing his skills to be generous toward someone else has deepened his relationship with God and helped him reflect his appreciation for God’s kindness in his own life.
2020 was a difficult year for Ruslan’s business, as supplies were in short supply with warehouses closed. Quarantine restrictions also meant he could complete projects only in vacant buildings. Invest Credit provided a grace period for his loan repayment and Ruslan – while completing what projects he could used his extra time to create a portfolio of stove and fireplace designs, providing samples of his work to potential customers. We are grateful for Ruslan’s example of courage, resilience, and generosity.
Furthermore, we are glad to share that in 2020, the HOPE microfinance institution (MFI) team was able to offer 1.4 million dollars of direct financial relief to clients. This allowed our MFIs to extend grace and flexibility to affected clients by offering grace periods, waiving interest and fees, and providing loan restructuring and extensions. We are grateful for God’s great faithfulness. Thank you.