A Brief History
HopeCore’s Microenterprise Program was founded in 2001 when our first group of 12 women, called the Rwanchege HopeCore Pioneers, received their loans of $400 USD each. Since then, the program has grown and we have funded many more groups.
Our goal as microfinance institution is to enable and empower member of rural communities by providing microloans for microenterprise development, business education, health education, and support to our loan recepients. This program helps the people of Maara Sub-County, Tharaka Nithi County, by providing them not only with education and training for personal development, but also with an entrepreneurial mindset that will free their spirits to build a stronger future for themselves and their families. Our microloan distribution makes up a large majority of our funding and activities, but our overall goal is to reduce poverty in this area.
The Microenterprise Program Today
As of March 2015, Village HopeCore International loans have reached 984 recipients!
Our services have reconfirmed to me that we are making a huge difference in people’s lives. The amount of wealth our microloan institution provides may seem small, but the increases in income that these microloans encourage have profound benefits for the loan recipients and community as a whole. The profits our clients received from various business ventures have helped them to better their quality of life and education, empowered women to take a leading role in income generation for their families, and reduced the reach of deadly diseases like malaria and HIV.
Chogoria Uwezo Self Help Group
Our program is a very inclusive program, hence we do not discourage even people of special circumstances from applying for loans. We recently have begun working with the Chogoria Uwezo Self Help Group, a group of physically-disabled people who dream of bettering their businesses and improving standards of living for themselves and their families. “Uwezo” means “Empower,” and it is our hope that our microloans empower, encourage, and support the people of this group.
Here is a story of one of our inspirational clients from the Chogoria Uwezo Self Help Group:
Stephen Kariuki, 50, is married and a proud father of 3 girls: Ann Kathambi, Mary Wanjiku, and Sharon Njeri. Ann Kathambi completed college and holds a certificate in food and beverage administration, Mary Wanjiku has graduated from secondary school, and Sharon Njeri is currently in Class 8. He lives with his family in a rental home in Chogoria.
Stephen suffers from polio. He contracted the disease in 1966 when he was three years old, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. Refusing to accept his paralysis, he tried different physical therapy techniques to learn how to walk, and he can now successfully walk short distances using his walking clutch and cane. He also suffers from other health issues including high blood pressure and a recurring urinary tract infection (UTI). Despite his paralysis, he has remained positive and does not let his paralysis negatively affect his life.
Stephen is known to be one of the most successful businessmen in his area. He possesses professional skills in the area of general leather work and leadership skills as well. He is the chairperson of Chogoria Uwezo, secretary of the Men’s Association at his church, and a member of the Board of Governors at Ndosha SACCO in Chogoria. He also enjoys playing the drums in addition to his various business ventures. From his leather work, he earns a monthly income of Kshs 16000 ($184 USD). His wife sells second-hand clothes and earns a monthly income of Kshs 6000 ($69 USD). Their general monthly household expenses are approximately Kshs 15000 ($172 USD). However, after paying rent, school fees, and other health-related expenses, their monthly expenses often exceed their monthly income. He dreams of one day becoming the CEO of a shoe industry one day, but knows that he needs extra financial help, which he has found through the HopeCore microenterprise program.
Stephen’s major concern is the well-being of the other disabled members of his community. He says that there are some members that are in dire need of assistance and he hopes that HopeCore will be able to empower them economically as they did to them. He is currently in the funding cycle, and he has much optimism that he will significantly grow his business with the loan he has received from HopeCore.
It is people like Stephen who inspire my team and me to continue working to reduce poverty and empower our communities with the microloans, business education, and leadership training that the HopeCore Microenterprise Department provides.
Meet this blog post’s author…
Jillo Gubal Shamzad joined HopeCore as a full-time Microenterprise Department employee in July 2014, but was no stranger to the organization, as she had already interned with HopeCore before that. She is now the Assistant Microenterprise Coordinator and has become an integral part of the department through her hard work, determination, and initiative-taking.