The people of Haiti have a long-running history with disaster and poverty. One ministry is using business loans to help locals build themselves out of the cycle.
For 20 years FARMS International has operated two separate loan programs in Haiti. Surviving hurricanes, earthquake, and sickness, these locally-run programs seek to strengthen communities by offering business loans through local churches. Projects typically revolve around agriculture and livestock, says FARMS Executive Director Scott Clifton.
One program issues 35 loans a year while another had issued more than 300 before natural disaster setbacks. They’re working back up again, and 60-65 families are currently loan recipients.
Among the recipients are many large families with 7-10 kids. Widows with FARMS loans have been able to create livelihoods for themselves and their families.
Haitian loan participants often buy goats and pigs. With the additional money or livestock they are able to pay back the loan, allowing money to go out again.
Those extra livestock are a form of security for many families.
“If they have goats and they need an emergency expense… then they’ll sell one of the goats and they’ll have that money available,” Clifton says.
The earnings also go back into the community through church offerings, adding an extra layer of support. Learn more about FARMS here.
Relief vs. Development
There is an important place for relief, but that’s not where FARMS does its best work. In cases of disaster and war, fast externally sourced relief can be life-saving. FARMS does its best work by addressing the long term.
“Haiti really is a place with a lot of need and a lot of poverty. It’s a difficult situation to work in, because the need is so evident, yet at the same time there’s so many people trying to help. There’s more NGOs per capita than any other nation and so there can be a real problem of dependency as well,” Clifton says.
The FARMS approach focuses on local development and dignity.
“They’re joining the purpose that God has for their life by using the gifts and talents that God has given them. And when people have that… dignity, participating in the kingdom in that way, that can be really transformative,” he says.
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Kali Katerberg
CALL TO ACTION
- Consider donating to help support initial loan investments in places like Haiti.
- Pray for the residents of Haiti and other FARMS locations around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Pray for the success of FARMS programs and local loan recipients.