By Felipe Fuke | March 30, 2020

Fresh Dreams for the Next Generation

An Esperanza intern describes the profound impact microfinance has on the next generation of Dominicans

 

In 1985, David Valle first came to the Dominican Republic to play baseball and made a promise to return to help the local population. Since then, the lives of thousands of Dominicans have changed forever. Through financial and non-financial services, Esperanza provides a path out of poverty for the more than 40% of Dominicans currently living in extreme poverty. Many Esperanza associates now own houses, maintain steady jobs, and receive consistent health services. I personally met many who are overcoming the dehumanizing conditions of poverty. But after interviewing associates for nearly a month, my attention is absorbed more by another set of stories: the children’s.

In When Helping Hurts, Mohammed Yunus explains why microfinance is most effective when it specifically empowers women. Statistically, when men access new financial resources, they primarily consider how to use it for personal benefit. Women tend to view financial resources in light of how they can improve their family’s wellbeing. I noticed it myself as I asked female associates, “What do you want for your future?” Ninety percent or more referenced their children in their response. Some said they dream of seeing their children attending college. Others want to see their children working in their businesses. But one thing is certain: the sons and daughters of associates are facing a new, hope-filled reality, with vastly different opportunities than their parents’. This is good. Very good.

Moises (in red) enjoys his new home

Last June, I met an associate whose journey left a profound imprint. Julyssa has 10 children, 4 of whom she and her husband adopted. Throughout her years as an Esperanza associate, Julyssa’s life was completely transformed. She now owns a spacious house and a thriving business. But she is clear that her success is motivated by her kids. “I am glad they get to live a better life than me,” she said. Julyssa and her husband are currently working to finance higher education for all ten of their children.

Ysabel in her home with her granddaughters

As Ysabel Peña knows from her own experience, most Esperanza associates never considered attending college themselves. She and her husband are both hardworking individuals but never had the opportunity to pursue higher education. She runs a sewing business in her community and her husband, at age sixty, works in construction. In their small, wooden house, they raised three sons; Ysabel became an associate when they were teenagers. Esperanza loans exponentially increased Ysabel’s sewing business. Just a couple of years later, her youngest son graduated college, an education paid for in full by his parents’ savings. Today, Ysabel spends her days with her granddaughters in her new concrete house. Here, the girls experience a safe place to thrive personally, spiritually, and educationally.

Julyssa’s and Ysabel’s stories show us the impact a $330* loan can have on a child, beyond providing food security and stable housing. Emotionally, spiritually, relationally, and academically, the next generation is positioned to thrive. As we see the transformation, we rejoice in what God is doing through Esperanza to free people to be everything he intends them to become. We will continue to work to release families from poverty and to experience the hope of Jesus who ultimately makes everything new.

*$330 is the amount of the average group loan through Banco de Esperanza

subscribe now

Get articles and educational materials by email.


Microfinance is a banking service which exists to serve the material poor in emerging economies. Through this lending process, loans are distributed to entrepreneurs for investment in their business.

learn more

share this article

recent articles

“Esperanza is our hope”

In 2004, a sugarcane plantation worker named Jacobo joined a new solidarity group forming in his community with the hope of starting a colmado (a neighborhood convenience store) to provide for his wife, his two sons, and his daughter, Yasquina. When Yasquina told her parents her dream to become a doctor and come back to serve their impoverished community, they used loans from Esperanza to cover tuition payments, and Yasquina…

Maria: Her children rise up

Maria remembers her community as a hopeless place when she was a child. Most of the 500 residents of her batey are descendants of Haitian immigrants working the sugarcane plantations without access to social services, education, or opportunities. When she heard about women taking out loans together with Esperanza, this hard-working single mother recognized an opportunity to provide for her children. With her first loan, Maria opened a small fried food shop, which became…

Joassaint: The future is sweet

In a stand next to the bus stop in the coastal town of San Andres, Joassaint Odalaine sells candy for breakfast. Passengers and tourists taking the bus through San Andres to the eastern Dominican countryside know Joassaint for her love and energy, a wide selection of breakfast sandwiches, and the wall of candy at the back of her shop, but when she first arrived at the bus stop as a…