Esperanza International Foundation Programs
Esperanza’s core focus is providing micro finance services that equip the poor with the financial tools they need to cross the poverty line. Loans primarily assist impoverished entrepreneurs who do not have the collateral to qualify for traditional bank loans. Micro finance services are then supplemented by initiatives that provide borrowers and their children with education, vocational training, discounted healthcare services and a variety of other social and spiritual services.
The foundation of our Integral Development Model (IDM) consists of five components designed to sustainably improve the economic situations of impoverished families:
- Microcredit. The main component of Esperanza’s program is a small loan averaging $220 to start or expand the small business of a person living in poverty. This capital empowers the working poor with self-employment so they can invest in their business and use the profits to provide for the basic needs of their families.
- Business training. In order to maximize the effects of the micro loan, Esperanza offers its associates training in business planning, specific trade skills, marketing, budgeting, inventory management and accounting.
- Savings. Esperanza requires each associate to put 2% of the balance of their loan into a savings account. Living in poverty can cause increased vulnerability to disease, exploitation, natural disasters and theft. Therefore, mandatory savings can ensure our associates will be better prepared for emergencies, tuition and home improvements.
- Insurance. In the event that an associate becomes incapable of working and is unable to repay the loan, whether because of extreme illness, injury or death, the family keeps the loan balance without having to make any more payments.
- Group-lending. Esperanza associates form solidarity groups of five entrepreneurs in a given community. Multiple groups in one community join to create what we call a Bank of Hope. Together, this group receives their micro loans, goes through business training, makes loan payments and supports one another throughout the process.
The root causes of extreme poverty go deeper than lack of capital. Borrowers and their children need education as well as vocational and spiritual training. Many of our clients never received formal schooling as children, therefore we teach them to be literate and numerate in order to break the cycle of poverty. We work with public and private institutions from government programs to local school districts to ensure the children of our clients have the academic opportunities they need to pursue their dreams. Vocational training programs are available for clients and their families as well as the general public.
Complimentary medical screenings and preventative health and dental care services ensure Esperanza associates and their family members have the opportunity to live healthy lives.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
San Pedro de Macorís
With his first $100 loan from Esperanza International, Jasmin Almonte bought his antique sewing machine. Since then he has been hard at work, most nights sewing at his work bench after the sun sets, in the dark.
Jasmin lives with a few of his children in a batey (Haitian slum) outside of San Pedro, where cement floors and solid walls are luxuries, but he is still able to produce quality pieces.
He is proud of his work and of the quality of his materials.
Over the course of 9 loan cycles, Jasmin has used his loans to pay for his transportation to Santo Domingo and the quality fabrics he buys there.
Jasmin is now borrowing $526 from Esperanza. His business is operating with enough consistent profit that for the past two loan cycles, Jasmin has been able to exchange some of his capital into Haitian gourdes and send money to his wife and other children who still live there.