Micro finance empowers people to overcome economic struggles.

By August 2, 2005

Sierra Leone (MNN) — Still recovering from civil war that devastated the country for 11 years, the people of Sierra Leone face economic challenges and instability.

But small business loans are proving to be an agent of economic transformation in that African country. World Hope International deals with 8,000 clients in their “Hope Micro” program in Sierra Leone.

Most of the clients are women, and instead of just giving handouts, the small loans empower people to take ownership, says World Hope’s Richard Schroeder: “With micro-finance, there’s this amazing ability for a contribution of 100-dollars to go to places where it’s most in need. And for it to be given in an ethos of responsibility and business liability. And it is lent out and it comes back in, and it’s lent out and it comes back in, and so the money is never really spent, but it’s used. And it’s used to generate business, and generate income.”

World Hope’s work is important because many of the loans are such small amounts that the recipients are not even considered by larger banks or organizations. Their needs are too small to be worth the paperwork and time of those companies, but World Hope seeks to provide help to those overlooked people.

Schroeder says, “Essentially, micro-finance is a tool for getting financial resources to the poorest of the poor. But to those who among the poor that are what we call micro-entrepreneurs, people that have, you know, that fire in their eyes.”

World Hope is impacting not only clients, but also secular agencies working there. They’ve encountered distrust from general secular agencies, but God is providing breakthroughs. Schroeder says, “But when they see the work that we do, they value it and they appreciate it. But then they also recognize that we are, kind of, the develop arm of the Christian church in Sierra Leone, that we seek to express this desire to help the poor.”

As they partner with the local church to minister the love of Christ to those in need, World Hope is seeing the impact spread. Schroeder says this type of ministry resonates with the Christian community, in the US and abroad, as they empower people to responsibility, encourage their efforts and provide them with a means to take care of themselves. God continues to work and change lives.

You can help support the work of “Hope Micro” by contacting World Hope. Click on the highlighted link above for contact information.

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