Thursday, July 19, 2012

Celebrating the Red and White

Hello DHF Family,

Yanet is located in the center with the pale blue sweater.

Here in Cajamarca everyone seems to be counting down to Fiestas Patrias or Peruvian Independence Days. Yes, you read correctly—DAYS. Peru celebrates both the 28th and 29th allowing Peruvians to plan much needed vacations and spend quality time with friends and family. In every small town and big city municipalities organize parades, arrange fireworks displays, and adorn the streets with Peruvian Flags.
 In honor of Fiestas Patrias, I would like to celebrate the spirit of solidarity, dedication, and resolve by sharing a quick story about Village Bank “United Women” (aptly titled). Two weeks ago the bank’s youngest member, 18 year-old Yanet, suffered a horrible tragedy. In the early morning hours of the 6th, Yanet’s three month-old baby girl, Sayuri, was severely burned in a house fire. Due to the severity of the burns, Baby Sayuri faded into a deep coma and passed away on July 13th.

Village Bank Promotora Bertha frying picarones.
Yanet was devastated. Her village bank knew she would be unable to pay her loan and cover burial expenses at the same time. So in the spirit of hope and solidarity, they rallied together and decided to organize a series of fundraisers in Sayuri’s name. This past Tuesday, in collaboration with the entire Village Banking Staff, we held our first “picaronada” in the famous Plazuela San Pedro, located a mere block from the HopeHouse. Picarones are delicious fried doughnuts made from flour, sweet potatoes, yeast, and lots of sugar. Once fried, a sweet syrup made from sugar cane juice and cinnamon is drizzled on top. From 2:00Pm until 10:00PM we sold more than 300 portions of picarones and raised over S/. 300, enough to cover her loan payment for July. The group is planning a second fundraiser after the holidays. That night we all left motivated, relieved, and in high spirits. As we draw near the end of the month, keep Yanet and the entire Village Bank “United Women” in your thoughts and prayers

First sale of the day!


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Legacy Sponsorship = Sustainability, Personal Connections & Lives Changed

Incredible advances in technology have been invented and become ubiquitous entirely in our lifetimes.  From advent of the internet, to the introduction of instant communications, to Mobile phones, YouTube, social media, iPads, personal computers, and countless other connected personal devices – it’s all happened in the last 30-40 years.  Sometimes the flood of information from a myriad of media sources can feel overwhelming.  But today’s technology continues to bring the citizens of the world closer together and allows us to share experiences with family, friends and also total strangers all over the world – instantly.
As I enter my 5th year as a supporter of DiscoverHope and my 3rd year as BoardPresident, I am forever grateful that the technology explosion has actually allowed us to create a very personal connection to the work we do and to the women we serve.

I am especially proud of the launch of our new Legacy Program, which allows donors to fund a village bank of 10-12 women for an entire year through a $5,000 donation.  This sponsorship provides funds for all of the trainings, bank loans, and administration for the entire year and allows for complete sustainability for the village bank.  In return for the sponsorship, the donor receives quarterly updates, letters, pictures and videos on the bank’s progress. 

 El Girasol Village Bank, Sponsored by the Thornborrow Family
My family and I are proud to be the sponsors of El Girasol Village Bank (The Sunflower) for 2012.  These powerful and glorious women work very hard to create a better life for their families.  Their businesses range from creating specialty crochet clothing to animal husbandry to the sale of beauty products.  We’re proud to support their efforts and to share in their experience as entrepreneurs and business-women.  We especially appreciate our regular updates on the bank members’ progress, successes, and sometimes setbacks.  
The connection we gain through the Legacy program with the women of El Girasol goes well beyond a sponsorship.  It allows us to also experience their experience.

It reminds me every day of how similar we are -- the humans on this planet.  We all want the best opportunities we can create for ourselves and our families.  Mothers want their children to be fed, loved, and to get the best education possible.  Fathers want a better life for their children than they had.  Everyone wants the opportunity to express themselves through their own creations.  And given the opportunity, most people will work very hard to make that opportunity a reality.  

El Girasol's Village Bank Profile
I am grateful everyday for the incredible gifts I have been given in my life and it makes me want to invest, in whatever small way I can, in another person realizing their dreams, no matter how far away they may be.  If technology has shown us anything, it’s that we’re all connected in more ways than we think.  And that we’re not really as different as we sometimes think we are.

There are many more village banks awaiting sponsorship through the DiscoverHope Legacy program.  You can read about them all on our website.  I hope you’ll consider joining my family in supporting a village bank for a year. I know you’ll experience joy in watching the steady progress of these women on their journey from poverty to prosperity for their families, and future generations. If you are interested in joining us on this journey, I’d be happy to talk to you personally about the Legacy program.

In gratitude,

John Thornborrow
Board President
DiscoverHope Fund