Empowering Women with Micro Loans
Often on this blog, we write about the importance of education in Haiti. For Pastor Samuel, it’s a priority, as he believes it’s one of the most important gifts any child in Haiti can receive. As he so often says, “In Haiti, with an education, it’s tough. Without an education, it’s impossible.”
But education is just one of Sam’s passions. We know, as “dad” to 50+ kids, that Sam has a heart for Haiti’s children. But he’s equally passionate about the family, and in particular, the women on whom much of the family’s strength rests.
In a piece written for One.org about the vulnerability of women in Haiti, the author describes Haitian women as poto mitan or the “pillars of society” playing a pivotal role in family and community life. Women do most of the housework, care for their children, work in agricultural labor and are often the primary breadwinners in the family.” Not only are they primary breadwinners, but they’re often flying solo, having been left by men who can’t find employment who leave because they are ashamed of their inability to provide financially.
To help the women in his community, Pastor Samuel and his ministry team launched The Haiti Sunrise Microfinance program in 2016. Since then, the first 300 participants who each received a loan of approximately $100 are successfully engaged in business and have repaid their loans. Most of the women are engaged in commerce, selling products like rice, cooking oil, bread, clothing, beauty products, and brooms in the roadside markets that occur daily throughout the countryside. These women have almost all (98%) repaid their initial loans and are hoping for expansion loans so they can grow their businesses even more.
With the funds that have been repaid, a second group of 300 participants have received their starter loans of $100 each and are currently in the process of building their businesses and repaying their loans.
Having seen the success of the first two groups, 500 more people have completed the Sunrise Business Training program (a prerequisite for receiving a loan) and are now patiently waiting for funds to become available so they can start their own businesses.
Having proven that it works, the Haiti Ministry is excited to announce that we will now be engaging with Pastor Samuel in support of his Sunrise Microfinance program. It’s the first new engagement opportunity for the ministry since the school project, and for that, we can thank the passion of our two newest volunteers—Christine Shook and Peter Porter—and their willingness to lead the effort.
Soon, we’ll have more information about volunteer opportunities related to this new initiative. In the meantime, if you’d like to contribute financially to the program, you can do so by clicking here.