Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Today we had the opportunity to visit with the incredible women of the village bank Bendicion de Dios (God’s Blessings). This bank is sponsored by Hart InterCivic through our Legacy Program, which provides funds for loans and trainings to our village banks.
What an incredible impact these training programs and loans have had on this group of women and their families. Only in their fourth loan cycle, the bank is successful and thriving. Many of the women in the bank did not know how to crochet before joining this village bank. After training programs provided by DiscoverHope, the women are very accomplished with their crochet. They were very proud to show us the blankets, sweaters, and shawls that they’ve created with their new-found skills. This provides them another source of funds if they sell their creations in the market; however, many of the women now make these clothes for their children. It is truly a special gift to give someone a new skill that provides them with a creative outlet as well as a source of income.
Today we watched a loan repayment meeting, where the women members come together to make payments against their outstanding loan balance. This is how banking happens with the poor. They gather in homes to meet, share food, crochet, and perform the business of banking. It’s a joyous celebration as the women approach the table to make the payment, they dance or strut to the table to break the ice and get them out of their comfort zone. So much of this process is about increasing their confidence and self-esteem and helping them realize that they are powerful and capable business-women. One of the most inspirational images of today was a little girl sitting at the bank table next to her mother who is one of the bank officers. She held one of the bank cards in which the women record their payments and keep their bank balance. This is an extremely important document and a great source or pride for these women. The booklet documents their path from the roles of the unbanked poor to micro-entrepreneur with a credit history and a track record of successful borrowing and repayment.
What incredible role model that this young mother was for her daughter, providing an example of responsibility, initiative, and hard work. I am incredibly humbled to witness the impact on future generations of women in this community.
These women were so genuinely grateful for the loans and trainings provided by DiscoverHope through the Hart Legacy sponsorship of Bendicion de Dios.
Many thanks to Hart InterCivic for its generous support in sponsoring this village bank and transforming the lives of not only these bank members but also future generations of aspiring women entrepreneurs. This sponsorship has touched the lives of these women in a profoundly powerful way.