I’ve seen $12 change a life. Seriously. And not just one life, but the lives of an entire family.
A few years ago, I met a mother of six living in the slums of Kenya. I don’t ever think I’ll forget her bubbly personality, her smile, and her rolling pin.
She and a group of others from her community were part of a micro-savings group where they all contributed small amounts of money to a group fund and then loaned it out to each other so each member could jumpstart a small business or income-generating venture.
This woman received a $12 loan. She used to work as a fishmonger, but she used her loan money to buy oil and flour to launch her business as a street vendor selling mandazi—Kenyan donuts. When I met her, she was making 1,500 mandazi a day…and the profits she made enabled her to pay to send her younger children to school—something previously impossible for her to do.
That’s incredible, isn’t it? I was deeply impacted by this woman and the power of a tiny loan that here, in my country, will get me a Chipotle burrito with guacamole, and a Coke. One meal. But for this Kenyan family, $12 and a diligent, entrepreneurial spirit was the ticket to giving the next generation of Kenyans an education.
This pretty perfectly captures what we mean when we say “Hope for Tomorrow” here at Bright Hope. A little different than Hope for Today, which focuses on immediate needs like feeding programs for impoverished children, Hope for Tomorrow looks ahead to see how we can help equip families and communities to prepare for a better future. We’re looking at long-term impact, that will change the course of lives forever.
There are three primary channels through which we do this: agriculture, education, and microenterprise and job training.
In agriculture, we partner with churches and communities to achieve long-term solutions to hunger and poverty with initiatives like greenhouses, produce and livestock farms, and farm co-ops. We help churches provide their communities with seeds, crops, tools and equipment, and also provide training in farming and irrigation.
In education, we work with the local in-country churches to provide tutoring, after-school programs, materials, scholarships for primary and secondary school as well as vocational school, and more.
Hope for Tomorrow projects always inspire me because I love the long-term impact that can come from an initial investment. To me, it really is “the gift that keeps on giving.”