Partnering for EconomPartnering for Economic Empowerment and Renewal
||September 2008 |
Welcome to PEER Servants Quarterly News! We thank God for your investment in us through your prayers and financial support. We hope this provides you with a fresh, succinct update of the return on your investment!
With warm regards,
The PEER Servants Communications Team
|Meet the 2008 Lydia Award Winners!
Every year PEER Servants recognizes the very top entrepreneurs from among our microfinance partners with the Lydia Awards. Lydia is the entrepreneur referenced in Acts 16 as the woman who used her business in selling purple dye and cloth to support St. Paul and his missionary companions. Lydia Award recipients are those entrepreneurs who excel in the areas of business growth, on-time loan repayment, innovation, perseverance, commitment to community/church, and growth potential. Each Lydia Award winner receives a $2,000 grant to invest in her or his business. The 2008 Lydia Award winners are:
Bamidele and Comfort Padonu
Perhaps it would be noteworthy enough that Pastor Bamidele and Lady Evangelist Comfort Padonu increased their chicken farm from 300 to 1500 birds with help from Good Seed Enterprise Development (PEER Servants' microfinance partner in Nigeria). What is even more amazing is who the Padonus hire to distribute their eggs - widows and orphans. Over 100 widows and orphans - many who became such after the 2001-2005 Muslim-Christian riots. The Padonus sell the eggs to the widows and orphans at below market prices and then the widows and orphans can sell them wholesale or retail for a significant profit. Through their business they are not only helping the widows and orphans make income, but actually start many small egg retail businesses as well. "Our dream is to open a home for the orphans and a training center for the widows with our profits," noted the Padonus on a recent visit from PEER Servants volunteers. It won't be long before that is a dream come true.
Mamelodi, South Africa
Lilly Storom operates one of the most impressive daycare facilities in all of Mamelodi, South Africa - historically white schools, the Department of Education, and local churches are all lining up to attract her six-year old graduates or help her grow to handle more three-year old entrants. It wasn't always that way. Prior to becoming a client of Aloga Financial Services (PEER Servants' microfinance partner in South Africa), Lilly crowded 37 bright young students in her home and was the sole employee. With six loans from Aloga, she has now been able to expand her facilities, accept 87 bright young students, and hire five employees. She insists on treating her employees well - paying a fare wage and even a bonus at the end of the year! A dedicated follower of Christ, she is excited how the whole family is impacted by teaching the children to pray and learn.
Just over a year ago, Kamsai was
borrowing a sewing machine from a neighbor and paying the neighbor 50% of anything she could earn using it. It wasn't bringing in much money, but it did help Kamsai supplement family income. Then Kamsai heard about Peace MED program (PEER Servants' microfinance partner in Thailand) and applied for a loan to purchase a used sewing machine of her own. She started supplying retailers at the famous BoBe Bangkok Market - they raved about her high quality product and demanded more of it! Kamsai was excited about the opportunity to grow - and Peace MED provided her with more loan capital to eventually have 5 sewing machines. She needed laborers, but she didn't want just any employees - she wanted those who would also be committed to quality and through whom she could make a difference in her very poor community. So she committed to training a refugee from Cambodia and others from Bangkok's slum neighborhoods. Now, Kamsai's business is busting at the seams (no pun intended).
|PEER Servants Announces Nine New Board Members
The PEER Servants Board of Directors took a significant step to strengthen the future of PEER Servants ministry by voting in nine new board members. This, together, with the resignation of one existing board member, brings our board membership to twelve individuals.
The current board is comprised of talented women and men of many diverse backgrounds who share a passion for making Jesus Christ known and offering transformation through Him. Members of the Board of Directors are as follows:
- Daniel Byrd - Assistant Professor of Strategic Management, Keck Graduate Institute
- Paul Copan - Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics, Palm Beach Atlantic University
- Todd Engelsen - President, PEER Servants
- Peter Greer - President, Hope International
- Edward Kibirige - Senior Relief Coordinator, World Vision
- Patrick Lucien - Engineer, Mentor Graphics
- Jill Maserian - Director of Content Management, Fidelity Investments
- Roberta Messina - Organization/Leadership Consultant/Coach
- Mary Ann Netz - Founder, CTS/PEER Servants
- Regina Pinto-Moura - Pastor and Counselor, Shalom International Baptist Community Church
- Matthew Porter - Attorney, Jackson Lewis LLP
- David Ryder - Semi-Retired President of Boston Bean Coffee Company
The board regretfully accepted the resignation of Jacqueline Copan. Jacqueline, together with Mary Ann Netz, are two of the three founders of CTS/PEER Servants. Jacqueline is married to Paul Copan, a current board member, and since many funding organizations don't approve of married couples both sitting on the board, Jacqueline submitted her resignation. We cannot thank Jacqueline enough for the vision and leadership she has offered CTS/PEER Servants from the very beginning!
The PEER Servants Board of Directors now includes people originally from Brazil, Haiti, and Uganda; it includes professors, NGO executives, pastors, engineers, consultants, entrepreneurs, lawyers, healthcare professionals, and leaders in financial services organizations; it includes those from a broad spectrum of the Christian faith. It is a board united in their passion to follow Christ and desiring to lead an organization that is committed to the Centrality of Christ!
|Entrepreneur in Focus - Joshua Muki
Joshua Muki could be the poster child for transformation. Life dealt some severe blows -- a physical disability affecting his mobility, the premature death of his father, and the absence of formal advanced education given his need to support his family in his father's absence. But Joshua knew, with God's help, he could overcome, and he did. He started with a small business selling airtime for mobile phones. A less than $100 initial loan from CAFECC, PEER Servants's Ugandan partner, allowed him to double his daily profits. Good as that was, it was the business training CAFECC provided that enabled Joshua to dream and then make plans to enable his dream to become a reality -- he grouped his larger second loan with two of his brothers and they bought 80 chairs to enter the event planning business. Soon Joshua had the corner on the Arua market for event planning -- weddings, government meetings, and even the local gathering for others with physical disabilities. Through yet another loan, he was able to expand to 200 chairs and hire one full-time and three part-time employees. Now he has his sights set on a tent. Joshua can afford to send his own children to get the education he never got. He is generous to his church. And he loves to host the finest events in northern Uganda.
|Strengths of the Materially Poor - Generosity
We didn't even catch her name - for purpose of this article, we will call her "Gift". Gift is just one of the almost one billion people in our world who at the time was living on a $1 or less each day. But she gathered as part of a focus group of clients of our Nigerian microfinance partner one warm evening and impacted our lives forever.
Gift received a micro-loan to purchase "layers" -- chickens that laid eggs that she would sell in the market. She had never run such a business and she was nervous about taking out a loan, but the Christians on staff assured her they would work together to help her establish the business. Weeks passed until the blessed day came - the first eggs were sitting there in the straw! Gift tells the story of how she gathered those first eggs and ran to her pastor's house. "I wanted to give the first eggs to my pastor." Gift stood up straight and proud. "I had never been able to be a giver. Now I could give. It felt so good to give."
Gift taught us a great lesson that blessed warm Nigerian evening. She taught us what it meant to be generous. Gift had next to nothing - a few eggs laid by her chickens didn't change her personal net worth overnight. But she was eager to share what little she had with others. And we learned a second lesson -- Gift opened our eyes to the privileged position we had been in all of our lives, the position of being able to give. Seeing the uninhibited joy of one who was able to give for the first time helped us appreciate how God had blessed us all along and how we had come to take it for granted.
We learned a lot about generosity from Gift that night. It has been just one of countless lessons we have learned from the materially poor that have enriched our lives.
This edition of Quarterly News focuses almost exclusively on the entrepreneurial clients of our microfinance partners. They are an amazing group of people.
What can you do to strengthen them and allow our microfinance partners to serve more clients? Join us at our 2008 Walk for Economic Empowerment
! It's at Lake Quannopwitt in Wakefield, MA on Saturday, September 27 -- it's not too late to plan to join us! If you click on the Walk link, you can register online, pay the $20 registration fee, and get an e-mail out to friends and family to support you in a matter of minutes. In that little time, you could offer the opportunity of financial, social, and spiritual transformation to at least one family in the developing world. If you can't walk but would like to support us in the Walk, click on the link and go to the "Make Donation Now". You can give securely online. And 100% of what you give will be made in the form of a micro-loan.
I am very excited about working with the new members of our new Board of Directors. They are a very impressive crew and I look forward to benefiting from their vision, encouragement, and willingness to hold me accountable to have all we do bring great glory to Jesus.
Thanks for investing your time and resources in PEER Servants.