God used microenterprise to change my life

In July, Deana Calhoun, a World Vision Child Ambassador, visited her sponsored child in the Dominican Republic, where she saw World Vision Micro at work. She blogged about her experiences, which we're sharing below.

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Today, we journey to the Palmera area development program (ADP). It is located in northern Santo Domingo. In order to get to the ADP office, we drive through what is called “the Misery Belt.” It is an area along the river and outskirts of town, where the poorest of the poor live.

We leave the main office and walk a few blocks away to the technical school. There is an art and music building nearby, which we’ll hopefully visit later, but for now, we will see the place where they teach woodworking, upholstery, sewing, hairstyling, baking, and jewelry-making.

We enter the room of the wood shop, where several women and maybe one or two men are learning to build furniture. A mom and her son are working together at building a chair. Others are using drills and other tools while they work on their own projects. They teach basic skills to people here so that after about seven months, they can go set up their own businesses in their homes -- because their major goal is to provide a means of income for women that will allow them to stay home with their children.

This is all too familiar. I began to cry, and I’m not exactly sure when I stopped.

Materials are provided by World Vision, and people can come to class Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to noon. While they are working, they can earn money to buy their tools. Without World Vision, I realize many of these people would not have the money to afford school or training like this. Their philosophy here is to learn in small spaces first; then, go on to bigger spaces.

Deana with her sponsored child Karina and her grandmother. Photo courtesy of Johnathan Thomas for World Vision.

To me, this is a picture of hope being born.

Am I crying because God has used microenterprise as a tool for changing my life? As a means for giving me tools and blessing me with hope in a new thing? Yes. Do I cry for the fellowship of sufferings? For the mom being able to be with her kids and still do what God has called her to do? Yes. Do I cry for the boy, who, while we were there, stepped forward and told us he was proud of us for caring, because most people don’t care about them? Yes, I especially cry for him.

I’m transported to Numbers 33, and I’m witnessing this woman and her son who are building this chair, and all of the other risk-takers in this room, marching out boldly before all of Egypt with their tools and their future and their freedom ahead of them.

I can’t breathe and my heart is racing and I am so thankful to be called a child of the Living God. And right now, I see that He is living through World Vision Micro.

I funded a loan about a year ago for a lady named Nellie who lives in Mexico. She was a single mom of two kids about the same age as my own. She wanted to raise some pigs, so she needed money to buy babies and build a pen. She also wanted to sell items in a catalog, but needed money to buy the items to sell.

I funded her entire loan with money that I had saved from cutting my own expenses. Karina (my sponsored child, pictured above) was my cable bill. Nellie is my unlimited internet and smartphone bill. I liked Nellie’s entrepreneurial ideas. She had spunk. She seemed strong. And I could help her.

Being in this shop, even though I’m in the Dominican Republic and not Mexico, was like standing there and watching Nellie work.

I LOVE WORLD VISION MICRO!!!!! It’s so easy to make a difference in a person’s life. Did you know you can contribute as little as $25 to help make someone's business dream a reality and give birth to someone’s hope? That is five venti cups of coffee at that place that shall remain nameless. Contribute as little as $25 for a portion of a loan; then, others will pool their money with yours until the loan is fully funded. Or, fund the whole thing all by yourself.

Seriously, who even cries at Micro? I do.

This post originally appeared on the World Vision Micro blog -- A Child Ambassador meets Micro -- and on Deana's blog.

World Vision Micro gives you the opportunity to fund small loans for entrepreneurs living in poverty, who have sound business ideas but lack access to credit or collateral. Fund a small loan for an entrepreneur today.

You can also make a regular investment in hardworking entrepreneurs by becoming a MicroMonthly donor. Each month, you’ll be connected with a new entrepreneur so that you can follow their progress and watch their families thrive and grow with your help!

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