Isabel arrived in Bogota with a small town girl’s dream of a better future. Transition is rarely easy; it is often a sacrifice. She cleaned houses and worked in restaurants and greenhouses. All the while, she and her husband hoped to return to their hometown someday. Isabel joined a Investing Hope savings group three years ago. “It´s surprising how much you can save little by little.” She heard about a lot for sale back home, Isabel started saving for that specific dream. After Isabel saved US $660 dollars, she bought the lot. Then, she saved US $1.000 and began building the house. It is almost finished now. “Little by little, we are building our new home. One day we will open our own business.”
Isabel exudes confidence when she describes how she developed commitment, discipline and good savings habits. Her group members are all top savers. Her 8 year old daughter Valeria also participates in an entrepreneurship & savings group for kids. She is hardworking and a consistent saver – just like her mom. Investing Hope has a plan to reach many more mothers and daughters. From one generation to the next, we see a wave of positive change. ALL donations help us reach our goals.
Yaneth and her family live on the high edges of Bogota with other displaced Colombians. They escaped political violence and economic injustice but life is still precarious: rampant poverty and an unstable mountain side.
But who can live without hope? Yaneth and Antonio know how to face challenges. Their son Javier has severe physical and cognitive limitations requiring constant care and many medications. Yaneth’s loving dedication is sacrificial. “He is never alone; we take turns caring for him.” They appreciate the government’s provision of medication even if the lineups and paperwork are endless.
A door opened when Yaneth joined “Little Seeds”, an Investing Hope savings group for families with disabled children. She made and sold products including Christmas ornaments. Her savings began to grow.
Antonio re-packages goods and sells them. After seeing Yaneth´s year-end savings, Antonio decided to join the Entrepreneurship and Savings Group instead of buying lottery tickets every day. After saving for a year, they had the money to build the second floor of their house. With extra space, the family lives more comfortably. Javier has his own room. They are on their way up.
“An Entrepreneur Earns Money to Make Her Dreams Come True”
Laura, an 18 year old high school graduate, lives in the same neighborhood as Daniel. Paraiso is in the southern corner of Bogota on a high mountain; its roads are steep. Laura’s dreams will take her well outside her neighborhood; she wants to study Foreign Languages in college. She cannot begin these formal studies until she has saved enough money for tuition and expenses. To reach this goal, she began saving money last year and already has part of what she needs. She knows that she is one step closer to fulfilling her dreams.
Last year, Laura’s mom encouraged her to join a entrepreneurship and savings group which, like YES Clubs, actively teach financial responsibility. For the first time in her life, Laura has been saving on a weekly basis. She likes what the group has offered: learning the discipline of saving and participating in group income -generating activities. All the members benefit!
Laura stated, ¨We make low-interest loans and the group receives the interest. We collaborate in simple [entrepreneurial] activities which make a profit. When you add it all up, it is generating a lot of money”. She compares this savings system to saving in a traditional bank account, “The bank charges you fees and you earn very little. With this program, you see the profits”.
By the end of last year, Laura was able to save $1,000,000 pesos
(approximately $350. US). The GEM savings group has provided Laura with a way to save and even increase her savings. She now trusts that different roads will open up to help her achieve her dream.
Samantha, an 8-year-old girl with learning disabilities, grew up in a very poor part of Bogotá. Because of the conditions she was born with, it was very hard for her to fit in or do well in school. But when she joined one of Investing Hope’s Youth Entrepreneurship Groups, she discovered a talent for and love of selling edible goods. She quickly rose to be the most successful child in her YES group, faithfully producing and selling 15 candy kabobs each week. Her diligence paid off as she had saved 99,000 pesos ($33 US) in just 3.5 months. Over the past two and a half years she now has over $600 in savings. With her savings and developing skills, she now has the chance at a career and favorable life in Bogotá society. Her parents are overjoyed and delight in sharing about her development and the impact of the youth entrepreneurship efforts of Investing Hope.
Tin Tin, an 9-year-old, grew up in a very poor part of Bogotá.Tin-Tin tugged at my sleeve. I turned around in the room filled with celebrating children and saw the tiny 9-year-old flash me a big smile and wave a 5000 peso note in the air. “This is for the church!” he exclaimed. Tin-Tin was so delighted that he and his brother had won the two top prizes as the best savers in the “Chocolatazos” YES Club. He had become a budding entrepreneur! His weekly attendance had dropped off briefly when he was hospitalized with pneumonia but he returned to the Club activities with an oxygen tank. Then doctors diagnosed Tin-Tin with cystic fibrosis but even that did not deter his diligent efforts. He had learned to save money for his future. He had the constant support of his brother and his devoted father, a man who had lived as an abandoned orphan on the streets. Somewhere in the lessons about God’s provisions, this family and especially Tin-Tin had also learned gratitude and generosity. The YES Club’s popular candy-kabob sells for 16 cents. In June, after only four months, Tin-Tin and his brother had saved $45 US — 16 cents at a time!! I could see the joy in his eyes.Jim Frantz