Stories from the Dominican Republic
Gail Reynolds, part of the Women of Vision Fairfield County chapter, has been travelling in the Dominican Republic this week with Cindy Breilh, Women of Vision National Director, and other Women of Vision. They are seeing first-hand the difference World Vision child sponsorship and a microfinance loan can make. Here she shares some of the stories they have heard and amazing women they have met.
Say hello to Milagros. She is a single mother of six children, and has recently welcomed the infant of a friend who passed away into her household. She also has HIV. But looking at her one would never guess what a weight she carries on her shoulders.
She trusts implicitly in God and knows that He is in control and taking care of her and her family. She runs several small businesses out of her home. She is seen here baking bread that she sells from her home, in addition to refrigerated sodas and grocery supplies. One of the women on our trip sponsors her daughter Anita; it was such a blessing for all of us to witness the great joy of their meeting. Milagros means ‘miracle’, and she truly was a miracle to her family, community, and to all of us!
Ana Luisa is a 56 year old lemon, yucca, banana and plantain farmer. She has eight children, two of which are still living at home and helping on the farm. They are both World Vision sponsored children. Ana Luisa grew up in the fields with her parents and learned everything about farming and the value of money and saving from them. They both passed away when she was 18 and she took over farming their land. She has since acquired much more land and expanded her farming ’empire’. She and her husband run the farm, they hire when they need help in the harvest, and they hire someone to come with a truck to deliver the crops. Her son accompanies them on motorbike to manage the sale. Ana Luisa very much wanted a loan from FIME (Dominican Republic’s Microfinance Program) to boost their business by leasing additional land to grow more crops. FIME was encouraging the growing of vegetable gardens but Ana Luisa wasn’t interested in that, she wanted more land. FIME saw her determination and she got her loan. She is always saving and repays her loans on time. Ana Luisa is an example of a very strong, determined woman who will stop at nothing to achieve her goals. She is extremely content with her life on the farm and praises God for her blessings.
We so enjoyed meeting Nancy, who runs an afternoon preschool for 3-4 year old children. They are adorable all dressed in their uniforms, what a joyful group. She gets help from World Vision, they pay tuition for some of the children and she has used FIME loans to fix up and repair the building. She has such a huge heart, her interest is in helping the kids and the community. She hopes to have help advocating with the government to fund the preschool so she can grow her business. Right now she has 31 children in the afternoon, but would like to start a morning program as well. Nancy attends college on Saturdays to get a degree in education, and was given an award from Citibank for her amazing work. She is shown here with some of her students, and preschool learning tools donated by Women of Vision’s Fairfield County chapter.