Saturday, June 19, 2010

Thurman Award to UOB's Client...

Hope International, a Christian microfinance network is giving out Thurman Award to the most transforming client story among all stories received from around the world. Thurman Award has been established in honor of Hope International's first CEO and his wife.

In 2010, this honor was awarded to one of UOB's clients, Chantal Nyiraneza. It was a great honor for Chantal as well as UOB.
The following article is quoted from Hope International's website.
Each year, the Thurman Award, established in honor of HOPE's first CEO and his wife, recognizes a client who demonstrates HOPE's values of perseverance, compassion, strength of character, and creativity. This year we are pleased to celebrate Chantal Nyiraneza: "one-lady business incubator."

As one of hundreds of thousands of orphans left in the wake of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, Chantal Nyiraneza knows the necessity of relying on God’s care – and the joy of extending that care to others. Like so many Rwandans, Chantal found herself grieving the loss of her parents even as she faced the unexpected responsibility of caring for her two younger brothers and a cousin.

Rather than resenting her newfound responsibilities, Chantal saw them as opportunities to extend God’s love. In the 16 years since the genocide, she has continued to share this love, and the number of people she supports has only grown. Several years ago, she married another genocide survivor, whose two younger siblings joined the family. Together the couple adopted yet another orphan and had three biological children.

In order to help support their large family, Chantal started selling milk, sodas, and African tea to bicycle taxi riders and other passersby. A natural entrepreneur, Chantal soon saw that her limited menu was not attracting new customers. Undaunted, Chantal took out a loan of $35 from UOB. With this money, she slowly began to introduce various food items to the menu, including roasted goat meat, fish, and chicken.

Just as Chantal predicted, business has increased exponentially with this expanded menu. Currently on her 18th loan, Chantal now roasts two goats a day to keep up with the demand of her 200 customers, and her restaurant makes more money each day than she took out in her original loan. Chantal’s profits help provide food, clothes, and school fees for her nine children, and she has also built a new home that is large enough to comfortably house the entire family.

As Chantal’s situation has improved, she has in turn been directly responsible for improving the lives of her community members. Over the years, her restaurant has employed 28 people, and rather than viewing them as competition, she has encouraged each of them to use their experience at her restaurant to start their own business. With her encouragement and help, 20 of them have done so, forming a community bank to take out HOPE loans themselves. As one Thurman judge writes, “What is striking to me is that she is a one-lady business incubator, mentoring her employees and building their skill sets so that they can graduate from employment, start their own businesses, and access loans themselves. Her faith-in-action, and the joy she takes in sharing God's provision with others, embodies what HOPE International is about.”

Chantal, in turn, gives all the glory to God: “There is no way I could have changed my history without God’s help. God has done this that you see today.” And with God’s help, Chantal dreams of expanding her business to other underserved areas, spreading the impact of her business to many more individuals and helping to rebuild her country one person at a time.
What an amazing story it is! Praise the Lord! - Jeffrey

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