Small Loans Saving People from Poverty

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The poverty statistics are alarming: more than a billion people in developing countries live on a little more than a dollar a day.

And an estimated 22,000 children die daily because of the conditions of poverty around the world.

Those numbers are driving Hope International's work to end the crisis.

The Christ-centered group wants to change the way the church responds to global poverty.

Their work is turning their poorest residents into entrepreneurs with small loans -- some as little $100 dollars.

Peter Greer, president of Hope International, said his goal is to lift struggling people out of poverty around the globe.

"The global church, we have all we need to see a tremendous impact in our world. And we think now is the key time to get involved in bringing the hope of christ to communities like this," Greer said.

Hope International uses the small loan concept called microfinance to help reach those communities.

"Everybody has heard the Chinese proverb that if you give a man a fish, he eats for a day, you teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime. But we found that is not exactly true," Greer explained.

"It is not just enough to know how to fish. You need a fishing pole. You need a way to get to the pond. You need bait, a boat," he continued. "So microfinance is all about providing access to training, to saving, and to capital so you can start a small business."

"Simple concept, but it really does have a revolutionary impact on communities that were at one point dependent on charity. And now they are becoming the benefactors in their own communities to the even more vulnerable, the even more needy in their communities," he said.

One person Hope International is impacting is Wilfredo Sanchez. A loan helped the former farm worker open his own convenience store four years ago.

Now his shop is the heart of his community. It's stocked with inventory valued at more than a million pesos. The microfinance concept has allowed Sanchez to buy property and spend a lot less time working a farm.

And Sanchez isn't the only success story. Greer shares more in a new book called The Poor Will be Glad: Join the Revolution to Lift the World Out of Poverty.

"The reason we wrote that is because we didn't see anything that was really educating the church about this new tool. So that is one resource," Greer explained.

Greer said he hopes readers will walk away better understanding those who are caught in poverty. He says such people are often under-estimated. So Hope International is working to change mindsets .

"Some people have said that this is banking for people who don't have access to banking services. You are not going to find a commercial bank that is willing to come into this community anytime soon. Yes these individuals need a place to save their money. They need the chance to have a loan. They need a chance to have some training," Greer said.

Buy the Book:

The Poor Will Be Glad

Related Link:

Hope International

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Efrem Graham is an award-winning journalist, who comes to CBN News from the ABC owned and operated station in Toledo, Ohio.  He received his master's degree from the Columbia University Journalism School. He also holds a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.  Follow Efrem on Twitter @EfremGraham and "like" him at Facebook.com/EfremGrahamCBN.