Stories of Hope
From the Philippines to Africa to Bangladesh and beyond, Providence International is transforming lives with your help, turning microfinance livelihood loans into business opportunities for carefully vetted and well supported recipients. Whether it's preparing meals in the Panabo or straw mats and baskets in Uganda your generous donations are helping to change the world, one entrepreneurial spirit at a time.
Rachelle Gallardo was in her early thirties when her husband abandoned her and their three children in the Philippine city of Panabo. Alone and depressed, Rachelle pursued numerous means of providing for her family, yet struggled to pay for food and and her children's tuition. Finally, with the assistance of her mother, she turned to cooking, and the two opened a small canteen at a local school.
Each day before dawn Rachelle and her mother prepared meals, which they sold during lunch, and breaks throughout the day. Though a business their size called for a team of four, the two women ran it themselves, unable to hire additional employees. "We were tired by the end of the day, Rachelle recalls, but had no choice but to carry on.” Through a neighbor, Rachelle was ultimately introduced to a Providence International partner. “The discovery was God-sent,” she said, and “everything suddenly fell into place.” While expanding her canteen at the local school, Rachelle received a free stall at Panabo’s night market, a local bazaar operating between 4:00pm and 11:00pm, during which time hundreds of people come searching for bargains. The offer for stall space came just in time, for Rachelle would soon receive her first livelihood loan, and with Providence’s partner providing a livelihood loan of $85, and her mother contributing $40, the two were able to purchase a hamburger cart.
As the canteen continued to thrive, Rachelle continued to work with her mother from pre-dawn to midday, and as soon the first shift ended, she traveled to the second at the night market, where she managed her growing burger business. With perseverance and faith in God, Rachelle’s businesses proved successful, and four months later, she received her second loan of $127, which she used to buy steel plates. “Everything was just happening,” she recounts, “God is so amazing,” and the livelihood loans gave my family a future with hope. I was able to improve my business, but much more than that, the fellowship meetings I attended helped me recover from depression, and I now have hope. For me,” she continues, “the weekly fellowship meetings are comforting and encouraging, as everyone shares their life experiences.”
Maria Dado, a Providence International microfinance livelihood loan recipient, works with Uganda’s Action for Children. Though Maria’s children are grown, her husband, like many in her village, died of AIDS. With the passing of parents, children are often left unattended, and Maria uses income from her straw mat and basket-making business to care for three young orphans.
Training, encouragement, and a small loan have enabled Maria to not only support herself, but also her adopted family. To foster her business and a sense of community, Maria takes part in a support group of micro-entrepreneurs, and receives regular training and Christian counsel. She is a wonderful example of the outsized impact a small resource—a microfinance loan—can have among the poor when properly managed.
Around the world, more than a billion people survive on less than $1 per day, and more than two billion subsist on less than $2 per day. To a large degree, people are trapped in a web of poverty that leaves them without opportunity, struggling to support their families, and frequently in a place of spiritual darkness.
Providence’s partners End Poverty Action for Children reach out to the very poor, demonstrating God’s love by helping them and free themselves from poverty through livelihood loans and their own hard work. This is accomplished by providing training and small loans that enable the poor to establish income, generating livelihoods for a lifetime.
Livelihood loans directly provided 320 families in Nilphamari, Bangladesh in year one alone and had a 97% average loan payback. This form of stewardship assures multiplied blessing for the donor and all the families served.
Bertha’s fruit and veggie business now supports her family, pays for schooling and has improved their nutrition and living conditions. In less than 6 months Bertha repaid her loan with interest and the next family now has the opportunity to have a livelihood loan.