The model of our microloan program involves a half day teaching for the women recipients that instructs them in basic bookeeping and how to pay back their loan on a monthly basis. What is does not involve is telling them what type of business to operate. Since 2000, many aide programs in the developing world have started to change the way they do business. Rather than the outside world viewing the poor as helpless, they are viewed as the part of the solution. Instead of spending money to build schools, roads and wells, many studies have shown that the results are better when cash is given directly to the poor with no strings attached. It also decreases the cost of beauracacy and is much cheaper to run.
I have been delighted when talking to our microloan recipients regarding the ingenuity of their business ideas and their ability to change the focus of their business depending on the season. A woman may sell foodstuffs in the summer, change to school supplies in the fall and then shoes over the winter. Each time she is using her loan to purchase the items for resale.
When we are in Haiti next week, we will be visiting with the pictured women. They received their loans last month in Ranquitte. Unfortunately, soon after they started their businesses, extreme flooding from heavy rains has ensued. There have been multiple deaths and businesses have been closed. The road to Ranquitte passes thru 2 rivers, making washouts a common occurance. But I have always been impressed by the ingenuity of Haitians, and I am sure they will have improvised and have many stories to tell.
Please consider making a contribution to our program on Give to the Max Day. I would love to inform all of these women that not only will we be able to continue the program but we can make it grow to include their friends and relatives. Helping them to help themselves – Helping Haiti Work!