“Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.”
— Nelson Mandela, Former President of South Africa
MICRO LOANS GRANTED
MICRO LOANS REPAID
COW BANK PARTICIPANTS
In Vietnam, people aren’t struggling with poverty because they lack ability or motivation. People struggle with poverty because they don’t have opportunity.
Economic Empowerment projects are open to all families who are in poverty or near the poverty line in a community. When YWAM Mercy Vietnam starts work in a community, each of these families are invited to join an Opportunity Team.
An Opportunity Team is created to provide it’s members with resources and accountability. The Opportunity Team meets monthly and is the distribution method for the programs listed below. The resources available to each Opportunity Team differ based on the needs of the community.
PROGRAMS AVAILABLE THROUGH THE OPPORTUNITY TEAMS
The cow bank is open to families who have attended livestock training and have the necessary land to grow food and people to care for a cow.
Participating families receive a female calf and raise it. The first calf the mature cow produces is returned to the cow bank at 6-8 months of age. When returned, female calves are loaned to another qualifying family. Male calves are raised for an additional two months and then sold to buy a female calf which is then passed on to another family. Subsequent calves and the original cow belong to the family and provide income that can be invested in other areas.
Micro loans are available to members of the Opportunity Team with an approved business and loan repayment plan. In agricultural areas they are mainly used to produce crops or raise animals. In more urban areas they are used for starting or improving small family businesses.
Interest accrues at the same rate currently being charged through government banks. This interest allows the pool of money available for loans to keep pace with inflation and funds related project activities.
Learning to handle money, manage loans, and create a savings plan is important for families who are struggling with poverty. Many families have never been instructed in how to manage money and are at risk of being tricked into oppressive and unregulated loan options. Poor families are targets for loan scams because they often don’t qualify for regulated bank loans.
Our training is required for any family applying for a micro loan. These trainings are responsible for our 99% micro-loan repayment rate as well as helping many families break the poverty cycle.
AGRICULTURE AND BUSINESS TRAINING
Depending on the specific needs of the community, YWAM Mercy Vietnam coordinates bringing in experts to provide training for Opportunity Team members.
In agricultural areas we bring in farming experts to provide training on increasing crop yields as well as the proper use of fertilizers and pesticides. Trainings are also provided on animal care, veterinary services, and increasing profitability. The introduction of new diseases and marketplace challenges are starting to face these farms. Trainings always include a long question and answer session where participants can ask about specific problems they are having.
In areas where the Opportunity Team is made up of small family businesses there are different business trainings and tools we provide to help these families operate their businesses more effectively. Tools provided to these businesses include mentorship, study tours to businesses in other communities and access to resources specific to their business needs.