I know, forgive me the levity but I wanted to get all of you candy lovers to read a very serious post.
In this case M & Ms refer to Moringa and Muslims. No offense intended in any way.
This week The Gemach Project will be funding 103 new loans in Niger. I am withholding the name of the village so as to not cause them any further difficulties than I am sure they will already encounter. These women will be cultivating and harvesting Moringa trees. Moringa is a highly nutritious tree of which all parts can be used as food for humans and animals. There is a growing market for Moringa in Niger and their hope is to capitalize on this. Of these 103 women all but two are Muslims. This project will be supervised by the church and of course it is hoped that all will see the love of God for all and that they will feel the presence of the Holy Spirit and the truth of Christ. We asked that you pray for the church, this project and these women that Light will shine in this village.
These 103 women have a total of 365 children. So we will be helping these children achieve better nutrition, education and medical attention for $29.32 each. Not for a month but as long as the business succeeds, for life. If we add two people per household for the parents and/or live in relatives, we are helping them for $18.74 each for life. To top it off this is not a gift but will be paid back and then given to others. Thus reaping more benefits per dollar. No other organization is doing what we do at the cost we are able to do this at.
Please consider supporting The Gemach Project today and support a family for life.
The Gemach Project, in partnership with Forefront Church in Lakewood, Colorado, has funded twelve new loans near Glodjigbe, Benin. These loans are given to those that attend an agricultural school put on by our loan administrator in Benin. The participants are required to have land to farm before they attend the school. They spend one year learning the best farming and animal husbandry techniques for their particular areas. Once they graduate from the school they are given a $500 loan to start their own agricultural businesses.
Of these twelve loans, five were funded from the five loans we funded last year. These loans were paid back in full and two months early. This year they expanded the school to seven more individuals, so seven new loans were made. It is the goal of this school to expand further each year. We are pleased to be in this partnership both with the school and with Forefront Church. We pray that this partnership continues to flourish and that it will last for years to come.
The Gemach Project has partnered with the A. I. C. Chelilat Academy to fund a farm project 30 miles outside of Eldoret, Kenya. Twenty poor families in the area have formed a group and have leased a parcel of land to graze goats on. The Gemach Project has sent the funds to them to purchase the goats. We encourage you to pray for their success and we thank God for his generous gifts that have enabled us to partner with this group.
For those of you that don’t like getting a lot of mail in your in box I apologize ahead of time. The Gemach Project has been blessed with good people to work with and there is a lot going on. We have had many loans paid back, new projects funded and new requests coming in almost daily. So there is a lot going on that I need to keep everyone up to date on. So this will be the first of many posts in the next couple of weeks to let you know how God is moving through us.
Miserette, Benin. Last year we made 50 new loans in Miserette. Those loans became due at the end of January. 96% of the funds lent have been returned.
Abogome, Benin. Last year we made 35 new loans in Abogome. Those loans were also due at the end of January and have been paid back at 100%.
It was decided to loan these fund to the same individuals in these two villages to ensure that their businesses succeed. Our first priority is that the businesses succeed and our second is that the loans are paid back. So on occasion we will reissue the loans to the same individuals to make sure that they are able to take that first step out of extreme poverty. Please pray for their success.
Tonight I turned on my computer and after my screen saver came up I just sat and stared at it for a little while. It is good to do so occasionally because it takes me back to the roots of Gemach and that it is about people and not about numbers; money, how many we help etc. You see my screen saver is a photo I took just as it was getting dark in a small village atop a mountain in eastern Congo. We had to leave quickly as it was not safe to be out of the city after dark. We had driven to this village, Malendi, because there were several widows there that we hoped to help through Gemach loans. These were their children that came out to greet us. In the photo there are ten of them. All between three and five years old. Right in the middle is a little girl in a pink dress. The collar is torn and she is dirty. But, she has the biggest prettiest eyes and they look right into yours. You can see the wonder, amazement and it seems hope in her eyes. We made arrangements to help these widows and they built chicken coops and we were going to fund the chickens. Right before we were to send the money, it fell apart. The person that was going to administer the loans was out of contact and communications with him broke down. We reached out to a local pastor but it did not have time to help these women. We asked others but to no avail. I still have those pictures of those widows building their chicken coops in my files. Yet no way to help them and consequently no way to help these children that look at me every time I turn on my computer. Somehow it helps keep me going. We will help many more, God willing, but it is good to have a reminder of those that you failed.
Silvanus, who is our local Gemach coordinator in Kechancha, Kenya, has been selected to go to Nigeria to speak about what he is doing to bring peace to his area. He has been selected by the United Network of Young Peacebuilders to present what he is doing in April. From the group that speaks in April some will be selected to go to Belgium to present what they are doing.
Silvanus is trying to bring peace between the Wayabasi and Wairege Clans. They are known to attack each other in order to steal each other’s cattle. They burn homes and many deaths have resulted. One way Silvanus is trying to bring these clans together is through Gemach loans. Not only does he target the poverty with these loans thus making the raids unnecessary, he also makes group loans that may contain members from both tribes thus, encouraging cooperation between each other.
We applaud Silvanus’ efforts and pray for his success both with the loans and that this speech may open many other doors that enable him to achieve his goals.
Twenty Four loans in Goro, Niger have been paid back on time and in full. With those funds Twenty Five new loans have been made in Galbouna, Niger. With these new loans it is costing us $51.88 to change the lives of an entire family forever. They can provide food, education and medical needs. This is a one time investment for life. Other organizations want this much of a donation to feed one child for two months or to send him to school for two months. This $51.88 provides these needs indefinitely not only for the one child but for all the children in the family and the parents. If you want a huge impact for a small investment then The Gemach Project is where you should be donating. Thank you for your support.
As the founder of The Gemach Project it is easy for me to get caught up in the everyday busyness of going through applications, wiring funds, providing information to donors, etc. So as I was going through the latest group of applications from Kenancha, Kenya I started reading the comments on those requesting the loans. It reminded me of how important our work is and dire the situation that some of these people face on a daily basis. I would like to give you a sampling of those in this group of 19 widows and one man whom we have agreed to fund a group endeavor where they will buy a corn miller, install electricity and start a business. I hope it touches your heart as much as it does mine.
Boroyi: Boroyi is a man who prepares tree seedlings to sell so that he can provide for his 6 orphaned grand children. All of whom are in school. Boroyi is 90 years old.
Magere: Magere is a 52 year old widow. She is taking care of her 7 children plus 4 orphans. She sells tomatoes and kale that she grows. Magere hopes to build a shade covering to protect her and her product from the sun while selling her vegetables.
Mogendi: Mogendi sells milk to provide for the four orphans that she takes care of and who are all in school. Mogendi is 80 years old.
Pauline: Pauline sells vegetables to provide for her 8 orphaned grand children. Pauline is 86 years old.
Prysca: Prysca sells milk in the mornings and evening to provide for her 6 children and 6 orphaned grand children who are all in school. Prysca is 65 years old.
Robi: Robi is taking care of her 4 orphaned grand children by selling milk and bananas. Robi is 75 years old.
This is who we help. Those that are so mired down in poverty there is no way out. No bank or micro-lending organization will touch them. There are no government handouts for these people. They are completely on their own and without hope. This is who we help. Please help us to help them.
I just returned from a trip to Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. The purpose of this trip was to determine the success rate of pilot projects in these countries and to determine possible new project sites. I would like to share what I found with our supporters.
Kenya – All projects in Kenya are progressing very well. I was greatly encouraged by the pastor in charge of the new project in Banana Hills. After one month of start-up the loan recipients are already paying back the loans. Projects in Ahero and the Kuria area are going very well with expansion probable.
Ethiopia – Start-up appears to be going well. This project had just begun so it is still in the evaluation stage.
Uganda – Uganda appears to be the area where we are having the most difficulties. We started with a few loans in Idudu and a few through a pastor in Kampala. Both are having difficulties but they are still confident that they can turn it around and that the loans will be paid back. Until this happens further expansion is not probable. We also have loans through an unwed mothers home in Kampala. Repayment on those loans have been running about 60%. Obviously not at the level that we would like to see. They have confidence that this rate will rise and until such time as this occurs further expansion is not probable. The one place that the loans appear to be doing well in Uganda is in Rugarama in the south, and further expansion is probable.
Rwanda – We have found an excellent partner in Rwanda who is running a vocational school in Kigali. They charge for this training but give scholarships to the very poor who can not pay. We are hoping to give loans to those that are poor after their training, as a part of their scholarship. This will not start however until 2015.
Burundi – Burundi is one of the poorest countries in the world and I am excited about two possibilities there. The first is through an orphanage. They are going to give vocational training to those that are old enough to leave the orphanage and who can not go to the university. We will come along side them to give a loan so that they can purchase the necessary equipment or tools to start their business. The second opportunity in Burundi is through a man whom they call the ‘”Cow Man”. People is Burundi raise a long horned cow which has a very small milk yield. This type of cow is a status symbol though not really of much legitimate use other than meat. The Cow Man is purchasing high yielding milk cows in Tanzania and then giving them to poor families. He takes enough milk in return to pay for the cow with no interest. Families can make $100 a month profit from this cow, in a country where most make less than $1 a day. We have agreed to partner with the Cow Man so that he can provide more of these cows to the needy.
Thank you all for your continued support and please pray for all of these projects to ultimately succeed.
Last year Life Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia asked us to partner with them to help widows in Ethiopia. Life Center is a non-profit run by the former Prime Minister of Ethiopia’s wife. We are pleased to announce that today we funded our first loans in Ethiopia, our ninth country. These loans have been made to fifteen widows and one woman who is caring for her mentally ill husband. We thank God for opening the doors to enable us to do this work. We thank him for the partners he has given us and the hearts he has touched to provide the funds. Please pray for the success of these fledgling businesses, for the work of Life Center and for a blessing on our donors.