Throughout Benin in West Africa we just had 317 loans repaid. We have made a total of 818 interest free and collateral free loans in that country. The repayment rate on these loans is a staggering 99.16%. These loans were made to the poorest of the poor. Those that have nothing. With these loans they have been able to start businesses that are bringing their families out of poverty. The cost to bring an entire family out of poverty in Benin? $67.21. With the average family having five children this means that it is costing us $9.60 to provide one person with food, education and medicine. A one time payment of $9.60. Not $25 or $35 a month for one of the three important things the families are able to provide for themselves, but a one time donation of $9.60. In Niger our cost is currently $8.27 per person. I submit that there is no other organization in the world that is doing what we are doing at the low cost we are able to do this at. How are we able to do this? Because we have done it the way God told us to do it. Without interest. And because we are honoring his teaching, God has blessed us.
When Babere Silvanus wrote to The Gemach Project in 2010, asking for us to partner with him, he had a vision of peace for his community. A peace that his community had not known for generations. His desire was to bring people together from four warring tribes, the Wanyabasi, Weirege, Werenchoka and Wakira, into joint projects. His desire was for these groups to work together to bring themselves out of poverty and eliminate the need to fight and steal from each other.
The Gemach Project did partner with Silvanus and we have been able to fund 89 loans through him. These loans went to groups comprised of members of warring tribes which required that they work together on their businesses. This endeavor has met with great success with 100% return rate on the loans.
Silvanus has also opened a clinic to provide medical help to the poor, a bookstore to provide school books for the children and runs the Kuria Development Community for the Marganalized. www.kuriadcm.org
Last month Silvanus was invited to go to Amsterdam to give a talk with the United Network of Young Peacebuilders about his efforts to bring peach to his community. They were so impressed with what he is trying to do that they gave him a cash prize to help with his efforts.
Silvanus is an asset to his community and is certainly an asset to The Gemach Project. Please check out what he is doing at http://mobilisingyouth.com/participants/sustainability-farming/silvanus-babere/ and at http://25storiesforpeace.wordpress.com/ . Silvanus is quite the young man and is an inspiration for us all.
Twenty loans that were made in the village of Goro, Niger last year have been paid back. These loans were paid back at 100% with 0 delinquencies. This means that 40 adults and 57 children have been lifted out of the poverty that their families have been trapped in for generations. They now can provide food, medical needs and schooling for their children. For a small investment their lives have been changed.
We are pleased to announce that all 27 loans made in Okouafanou last June have now been paid back at 100%. These funds will now be given to others in Niger to help bring more families out of poverty.
Sabina is 90 years old. Unlike 90 year olds in this country who do not have much to do and aren’t expected to do anything, Sabina is raising five children. She is farming and raising all five of her grandchildren who are orphaned. Sabina was just given an interest free loan from The Gemach Project so that she can expand her vegetable business and help raise her five grandchildren. Sabina, who you see standing in front of her house with three of her grandchildren, are the kind of people that we at the Gemach Project yearn to help and who we trust in God to give us the capacity to help. Please join us so that we can help others like Sabina.
The Gemach Project has made twenty-two new loans in Kehancha, Kenya. Twenty of those receiving loans are widows. In addition to their own children these twenty widows are taking care of an additional 30 orphans. We give thanks that God has given us the opportunity to help those that he wishes us to help. We pray that he continues to bless us so that we can continue to help them.
The Gemach Project has made twelve new loans through the Bethzatha Orphanage in Ahero, Kenya. Bethzatha tries to get all of their children into a home environment by seeking out those who will take in an orphan to care for them. These loans have gone to those that have taken in orphans but struggle to feed their own families. These twelve loans will impact six widows and twenty-five orphans. It is always a blessing to practice true religion. (James 1:27)
Today we began our first steps in hopefully helping over 1,000 widows in Burkina Faso. We have started with twenty-two loans. All to widows of pastors. These women suffered a triple tragedy. They lost their husbands, they lost all source of income and they lost their homes. Since most of them were living on church property they were forced to move when a new pastor was brought in to minister to the church. There are over 300 such women in Burkina Faso. When we met with them last November we learned that they already have the country divided up into 26 areas with a widow in charge of each area. They are also trying to help over 1,000 other widows in their country. Please pray that these original loans would work as intended and that we would be able to expand to help all of the widows that are in need. It is a huge undertaking but we know that nothing is too big for God.
The Gemach Project has funded 16 new loans in Bonkora, Niger. This is a small village in western Niger. These ladies will eventually be part of a group of 37 that will be growing moringa trees. These ladies are all Christians who attend a Baptist Church in their village. Please pray for their success and that these loans will open doors to evangelizing a country that is 98% Muslim.
The Gemach Project has made 14 new loans in Pencangou, Niger. These loans were made through a cooperative effort of the Assemblies Of God and Baptiste Church in Niger.