David Briggs, my partner and Co Founder is our guest blogger this week. I very much respect his passion to serve the poor. You can find the whole article here.

“I am constantly amazed at the lessons I am continually learning from the stories of our clients. When we first started our “grass roots” program there was one client that was asking for a loan of 7,300 MK (Malawi Kwatcha), which was $50.00 USD. I was perplexed when I heard the request and couldn’t imagine what could be done for that small amount of money that would be of any significance in helping her to make any difference in her life or that of her family.  She responded to my question and I was amazed at her answer and the fore thought that had preceded this request. She said, “ I want to buy a bottle of cooking oil and some plastic wrap.”
At this point I was intrigued more than persuaded so I asked her to continue explaining to me what she was planning to do with such a simple purchase. She continued explaining, “Nobody in the area that I live can afford such a purchase. Everyone goes down to the market each day and purchases a small spoonful of cooking oil so they can cook their family’s meal for that day.  Upon making that purchase, the oil is poured into a plastic wrap and tied in a knot at the top for transport back to your home. If I could purchase a whole bottle of cooking oil and some plastic wrap I could sell over 100 servings of oil. This would give me enough profit to pay my loan, provide cooking oil for my family needs, and allow me to buy another bottle of oil and more plastic wrap to sustain my new business. Eventually I could buy two bottles of oil and slowly add different products to my business as it grows.”
As I looked over her plan and ran the numbers, to my surprise, I saw that her strategy was incredible.  She could actually start a business with such a small amount of capital that would actually change her situation from desperation to a real opportunity to experience true transformation.  The thing that was so brilliant and became glaringly obvious was that the power was not in the size of her loan or the meager amount of product that she was planning to buy. The empowerment was in the strategy that she developed and the commitment to the diligence that it would take to bring her to the place where some of her dreams could come true.”

This young woman is brilliant. She’s not just thinking about the short term need, but rather how she can make that most of her resources to create a long term solution.

How will you give back? Who can you help in a time of need?

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