HOPE: Marie-Lourdes

Despite struggling with blindness for more than half her life, Marie-Lourdes has singlehandedly raised four children and three grandchildren and built a successful enterprise in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Her warm, inviting personality belies the struggles she has seen in her life since an undiagnosed illness stole her eyesight when she was in her twenties.

Marie-Lourdes began her business selling spices, oils, and other food staples in 1990, but through her HOPE loan she has been able to buy materials with bulk discounts, expanding her profit margin. Determined not to be held back by her blindness, Marie-Lourdes travels to the Dominican-Haitian border to purchase products that are scarce in Haiti. Marie-Lourdes sells these goods to customers and retailers in Terrier Rouge, saving them a trip to the border.

Thanks to her business’ progress, Marie-Lourdes has been able to vastly improve her family’s nutrition. “Even if I’m not able to provide large meals, I’m happy that we are able to eat every day,” she says. Marie-Lourdes has also committed herself to telling her neighbors about the opportunities HOPE offers. Many people in her community have expressed gratitude to her for pointing them to HOPE, as increased profits have enabled them to send their children to school.

Marie-Lourdes has always been a hardworking person, but since participating in HOPE’s biblically-based business trainings and community bank meetings, she has a better understanding of her inherent dignity as a child of God. She now clearly recognizes the importance of working hard in order to be in a better position to help those around her. She also feels that repaying her loans responsibly and on time is one way in which she can practice stewardship and trust God to continue providing for her needs.

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