10 November 2011

some thoughts on Burundi...

again, sorry for my absence. Readjusting to life in the states, getting my kids balanced here again, visiting with dear friends, and preparing my heart and my details to return to Africa in a few weeks, has taken just about all I've had - and I'm not sure you'd really find any value in my leftovers... or that I'm in a good place to coherently share them. Mini-panic attacks over leaving my kids. Frustrations over legal arrangements and provisions. And then there's the daily things like Halloween parties and cross country meets and walks in the woods. All good things that make up life - for all of us - and since i haven't had any extra energy to share them in good ways (seriously, all my friends are so much funnier than I am - it tends to give a tired soul a bit of a complex) , I've been quiet.

But from now till my departure - on November 22 - let's talk about Burundi.

Today's excerpt is taking from www.marshill.org - specifically based around micro finance and the lending bank : Turame : that Billy and I are a serving in now.

In Burundi, Africa, one of the biggest hurdles in alleviating poverty is lack of capital. Yet, after a decade-long civil war, only a small percentage of people in Burundi have the collateral required to obtain it. Sitting at 166 out of 169 on the Human Development Index [which ranks countries by health, education, and income], the Burundian people are near to the world’s poorest.

Yet, there is hope. Turame Community Finance is a microcredit institution with pre-credit preparation trainings designed to increase a client’s capacity for credit policies and procedures. This training, combined with a social guarantee between members of the same group, serves in place of collateral, to open up the opportunity to obtain a microloan.

The loan application process begins by a potential Turame client submitting a business idea. Those who are approved receive a small amount of funds [typically around $60] to help build their business and generate a profit. With the profit earned, clients are not only able to pay back their loans but also provide for the needs of their families. One small loan impacts multiple lives.

Microloans provide the poor with the opportunity to work themselves out of poverty. Their small businesses are a permanent, sustainable means for independence instead of on-going reliance on external aid. As businesses grow, livelihoods improve, new opportunities are realized, and dignity is restored.

starting this Sunday, at MarsHill, we have the opportunity to share in the micro-loan process. We can provide the capital for a real someone to borrow from - an opportunity to seed their small business, giving them the resource they need to follow their dream to become a business owner - and earn an income to buy food and clothing for their family, send their children to school, build their business into something they can be proud of - and learn business and life skills along the way.

You can find out more at www.marshill.org and actually join with someone that Billy and I could possibly be meeting while we serve in Burundi with this great organization. That's kind of sweet.

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