For women in Maasai culture and many other tribes across East Africa, life can consist of nothing more than bearing children, herding goats, and providing daily needs for their home such as food and water. Many times these women were married very young to an older man, leaving them widows at an early stage in life. This leaves them struggling to provide for children. Because most of them grew up without formal education, the opportunities to earn incomes are few, but they still have many useful skills that can be used to generate an income if given the foundation to begin a business.

Faces 4 Hope’s micro-loan program assists widowed and poverty-stricken women with encouragement and resources to begin a small business. Women who once felt confined to their homes with no hope of a more sustainable future are now chicken farmers, masters of beadwork, and successful seamstresses. In small groups of five to seven, the women keep each other accountable for their businesses and use their returned investments to continue building their businesses in the local community.

Giving a loan to a woman does so much more than give her the opportunity to start a small business. It empowers a woman to for the first time feel valued and experience her own God-given abilities. She begins to make plans for the future and no longer thinks only of surviving day to day. With the stability this income provides, she perseveres through challenging times of drought and famine and is able to independently provide her family with food and shelter. Her children are able to be given an education and become empowered themselves: thus breaking the cycle of poverty.

The cost of providing a loan for a woman is $250. Once she has paid back her loan, the money is used to continue building her business and the businesses of the other women in her encouragement group.

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