USA (MNN) — A national initiative to spur
volunteerism highlighted World Hope International this year. Volunteers for Prosperity focused on Hope
Corps volunteer Amber Hirschy in its 2007 Annual Report. The report featured a handful of non-profits
making a difference abroad because of the Initiative.
eleven months in Cambodia working with World Hope International's micro-finance
program. She worked with locals to help them launch small businesses with
the aid of a low-interest loan. Once the
businesses were successful, the owner was able to generate an income.
Hirshy's work with micro-finance also ministers to the self-esteem and confidence of
the people who receive the loans. The clients of World Hope's micro-finance
institutions are treated as business partners rather than charity
beneficiaries, and this translates into a robust incentive to succeed, which is
shown by on-time repayment rates that are generally in excess of 95%.
One of the fundamental aspects of micro-finance programs is that they are
run in an ethos of business viability and sustainability. The micro-finance
institution (MFI) charges enough interest on the loans that it provides to
cover their operating costs.
As a Hope Corps volunteer, Hirschy saw how her aid allowed to share and integrate a faith-based
lifestyle while enabling those she helped to become self-sustaining. "Living and working in Cambodia
challenged me to see the world in new ways and to truly acknowledge the
hardship and suffering that many people around the world experience every day," she says.
In 2007, WHI sent over 350 volunteers
to engage in community initiatives around the world. Since Hurricane Katrina
hit the U.S. on August 29, 2005, WHI has sent over 4,500 volunteers to provide
relief and development support to communities along the Gulf Coast.