By Chelsea Quackenbush
The Buckner Dominican Republic Community Transformation Center has teamed up with Esperanza Bank in Eduardo Brito to offer families microloans to propel them out of extreme poverty and toward self-sufficiency.
Qualifying families live in extreme poverty with little hope of becoming part of the job market. An Esperanza facilitator and a Buckner social worker evaluate families to determine their needs and the amount of the loan needed for each person.
“Lives have been transformed due to the spiritual and biblical training, and the fact that each family’s economical situation has improved to help them move toward self-sufficiency with economical development,” Esperanza International consultant Newton de la Cruz said.
The first-time loan is between 1,000 and 8,000 pesos, or $25 to $210. The loans are repaid at 3 percent interest – 1.25 percent is interest and 1.75 is life insurance and technical consultations for savings. The term of the loan is six months to one year depending on the amount of the loan, de la Cruz said.
Participants are required to attend biweekly meetings to discuss current situations and community events, such as healthcare and training opportunities. The group also has devotional time with Bible study and prayer for specific personal and community needs.
The group also reads their commitment out loud, which says they will uphold the values of the Esperanza bank; exhibit unity and relate to one another with mutual respect and trust; and work and persevere for the well-being of their families. In response, Esperanza commits to provide continuous and honest service in a timely manner for the approved work plan to generate the needed income.
Families see results
Many participants are able to send their children to school because they now have the resources for uniforms and school supplies, something they didn’t have before. They also can provide three meals a day and sleep in a bed instead of sleeping on the floor.
“Buckner is excited to have this important alliance with Esperanza because they can provide families with micro financing while Buckner case management through the CTC model can help families to develop a family plan of goals and objectives to help them move toward self-sufficiency, which includes educational opportunities, improved healthcare, spiritual development and job skills training,” de la Cruz said. “Each ministry complements the other very effectively for the benefit of families and children living in extreme poverty.”
The Esperanza Bank was founded in 1985 with the goal of providing poverty-stricken communities with support so men and women could develop small businesses and better sustain their families. A Buckner donor connected Buckner and Esperanza after seeing the similarities in their missions.
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