A Christian agency takes ministry to a different level in finance.

By November 25, 2005

International (MNN)–World poverty levels are at an all time high. Non-governmental Organizations are learning that assistance is not always a handout.

In fact, recent discovery has pointed to a successful strategy that is aimed at helping lift people out of poverty. World Hope works within the scope of local need to encourage economic independence.

From food vending to bicycle repair shops, new trades are releasing families from poverty throughout the developing world.

World Hope’s Richard Schroeder explains their foundation. “World Hope recognizes part of the great commandment of Christ to help the hungry and those who are poor and desperate. Microfinance is proven to be the most effective way of serving at the grassroots level and providing support for the very poorest in the world.”
Schroeder says they give the micro-credit loans to anyone who qualifies, but there is a partnership with the local church body. “The microfinance institutions themselves will become profitable and then from that, we can give to local church bodies or to conferences of churches. We seem to be identified as a Christian institution.”

Microcredit describes the relatively small size of a typical loan, from $50 to $300. In a First World country, this doesn’t represent more than what is spent on leisure. But, in some economies, the amount of the micro loan may be equivalent to a year’s income.

Lending is made to a group of people, not directly to an individual. Often called a solidarity group, the people who receive loans work together to help insure the success of each business.

Repayment rates outpace other more traditional forms of lending. Donations are used to capitalize a lending program. As loans are repaid with interest, these micro loan programs become self-sustaining over time.

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