Laure has big dreams.
One day she wants to build a school that teaches young women to sew. She wants to send her kids to university. And she wants to own a boutique.
Right now, she’s already on her way to achieving her dreams. Mentoring two young women and giving them sewing lessons, she desires to help them create a better life for themselves.
Though optimistic, Laure is not naïve to the pressures these young women face.
Sitting at her sewing machine, surrounded by brightly colored fabrics, she pauses briefly from her work to talk to HOPE staff about her experiences.
“Many people here do not have a good reality,” she says.
Laure speaks from personal experience.
A single mom, Laure used to worry about where her next meal would come from. Besides providing for her own four children, she also took in her niece and nephew. She cares for them as her own.
Like any other mother, she wanted the best for her family. But she could not pay for all of them to go to school. Because her children didn’t have the opportunity to be educated, they—like many other children in Congo—were caught in the cycle of poverty.
In 2010, she had the opportunity to take out a small loan from HOPE International. Providing biblically based business training, small loans and savings services to women like Laure, HOPE is creating pathways out of poverty for the poor.
With the loan, she was able to buy fabric and cloth in bulk at a discount. She also could purchase a variety of beads, lace and ribbons to make her clothing line unique. Laure is creative. She knows what’s in style, designing dresses to match the latest trends. Taking out several more HOPE loans, she now has a thriving tailor shop.
Beyond her successful business, she has found support as a single mom. Meeting weekly with other HOPE clients and her loan officer, they take time to learn principles of stewardship and to fellowship with one another. Her loan officer also shares about the love of Christ.
Today she says, “HOPE has given me many friends and contacts because of the group solidarity. I have many brothers and sisters that now support me.”
Now an active church member, she praises the Lord for all he has done to take care of her. She used to worry about survival. Now she is able to dream.
HOPE’s purpose is to invest in the dreams of the poor, encouraging those like Laure to use their God-given gifts and talents to work their way out of poverty.
Ministering in 16 countries around the world, HOPE is breaking the cycle of spiritual and physical poverty for nearly 400,000 clients and their families. HOPE is not about giving a handout, but a hand-up. Practicing Christ-centered microenterprise development—sharing the love of Christ and offering financial services to the financially poor—HOPE is enabling those like Laure to be agents of change in their communities.
Every four years, we receive a gift—an extra 24 hours to live fully. HOPE is challenging our supporters to re-gift their Leap Day to empower women in Congo.
It’s time we dream big. What if we would take the amount we earn in one extra day, and give it away? What if, rather than spending money on ourselves, we spent it on behalf of the poor?
When we invest in the dreams of someone else, we also invest in the dreams of their family. We not only help them to grow their business, but we enable them to send their children to school.
We change not only one life, but many.
For example, Laure is helping other women to dream. The two girls she mentors and trains are receiving practical skills to build a better future for themselves and their families.
An advocate for single mothers and young women, Laure works tirelessly so that others don’t have to have the same life she had. She’s helping them take a huge Leap Forward.
Take a personal leap and participate.
How can you help Congolese entrepreneurs like Laure Leap Forward?
- Watch the video.
- Find out what your day is worth. To calculate it, go to leapfwd.us. Imagine how your Leap Day could be life-changing.
- Join HOPE International to Leap Forward this February 29 and your donation will provide hope and opportunity for an entrepreneur in Congo.
The photo accompanying this article is of a HOPE client in Congo. Photo credit: Silent Images