Small Loans in Haiti Making Big Impact in God’s Kingdom

Microfinance is one of the primary ways we are committing to helping Haiti.  Matt Loeffler and his wife Tiffany spent one-week in Haiti with AIM; since then, he’s been helping to develop our church-to-church and microfinance programs.  He shares about some of the fruit already being borne from this “seed money”:

Our approach was to have the pastors select a group of
individuals from their congregation who they knew to be both successful
business owners and solid men & women of faith. This way they had a support network within
the church of others they could seek for help, counsel, and spiritual support
under the supervision of their pastor. In total we gave out 18 loans to 4 different church groups this summer. 

The types of businesses we worked with varied and most were
very simple street vendors. Many of them
frequently go across the border to the Dominican Republic where they can buy
products in bulk for a lower price and bring them back to Haiti to sell for a
modest profit. 
Most of them specialized
in a certain consumer staple like groceries (rice, beans, pasta, eggs),
clothing, shoes, batteries/flashlights, etc. Many of them have been doing business like this for 20+ years, while
other started more recently as their only hope of supporting themselves after
losing jobs due to the earthquake.
I also had the pleasure of working with some savvier and
better established business people who had their own stores. One gentleman, Augustin Jean Louis, runs a
very successful bakery business called Boulangerie Pain De Vie (Bread of Life
Bakery) with 2 locations, 3 employees at each. 
When AIM first met him he only had one oven at the nearest location but
was making a good profit on the bread he was able to produce. By his own success he was able to purchase 2
more ovens, triple his production, hire some workers, and grow his
profits. He has a dream of one day
owning 10 stores.
While the money we lent him was not enough for him to open an additional
store, it gave him the opportunity to purchase more products and turn
it into additional profits.  It also served as the first step in what we
hope will be a long-term relationship.

My goal for the future of this
program is to identify more business owners like Augustin who are smart
business people and have the capacity to employ more of their fellow
Haitians.  As our relationship with them grows and they prove to be good
stewards of the money, we will lend larger amounts, eventually giving
them the capability to expand their businesses, open more stores, hire
more workers, stimulate the economy, and hopefully help Haiti become
more self-sufficient.

Read more of Matt’s update on our microfinance initiative here.