“The poor stay poor not because they are lazy, but because they have no access to capital.”
Milton Friedman’s commentary on the need for market-stimulating initiatives still rings true in much of the developing world. In economics, the cycle of poverty refers to “the set of factors or events by which poverty, once started, is likely to continue unless there is outside intervention.” A vast majority of the world’s population finds itself entrenched in nation-wide poverty cycles, know as development traps—at least 80% of humanity lives on only $10 dollars a day and unable to generate the capital needed to move out of the grips of hardship.
Thanks to the work of pioneers like Dr. Muhammed Yunus, the last several decades has ushered in the proliferation of micro-finance programs to developing countries like Haiti. Because Haiti’s financial infrastructure has been repeatedly dogged by a series of natural disasters, hundreds of thousands of Haitians now rely on micro-loans from creditors from developed nations. Without micro-finance programs, swathes of the Haitian population would be unable to lend small amounts of money to help operate and maintain burgeoning businesses in both rural and urban areas. Micro-loans are helping offer capital to Haitians who would normally have no other means of borrowing, and are thus instrumental in ensuring Haiti’s path to development.
HavServe volunteer Sandra Fathi is just one of many volunteers who have helped sponsor the organization’s Women’s Entrepreneurship and Microfinance Program.
Sandra has been volunteering with HavServe in Haiti since 2015 with a focus on small business training, personal development, women reproductive health, arts and crafts workshops. While she initially thought that volunteering in Haiti would be a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, it turned into a life-altering experience. Witnessing Haitian women’s incredible spirit and passion in spite of their hardships ignited Sandra’s desire to make a long-term commitment to continue to positively impact their daily lives. Although Sandra believes in the power of volunteering, she understands that to achieve lasting change for the Haitian families, much more than a few hours of well-intentioned labor each year is needed. Since then Sandra and her daughter have been volunteering in their time with HavServe remotely and in the field while organizing, every Thanksgiving an annual fundraising efforts to gather funds for the women program and gathered technology donations for improving education, while working on securing corporate sponsors and identifying sustainable job and revenue opportunities to support the women microloans program in Haiti.
Providing support to HavServe’s Women’s Entrepreneurship and Microfinance Program, like Sandra, is just one of the number of ways you can lend a hand in Haiti.