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Andre has been disabled since childhood. With two paralyzed feet, he was often forced to beg, asking for money from villagers who ridiculed him.

His wife supported their family with a small business. Then she learned of the Village Savings and Loan (VSL) program that LPGM was running with the Evangelical Lutheran Church–Central African Republic (EEL-RCA). She decided to join one of the local VSL Associations. Andre occasionally attended VSL meetings when his wife couldn’t.

Andre has had two paralyzed feet since childhood. The VSL program has given him and his wife the investments they need to run a successful small business.

With your help, the VSL began in 2011, amid religious and sectarian violence in the Central African Republic. Its goal was to help people living in chronic poverty gain financial stability through a microfinance program.

In 2015, this program grew through a three-year grant from the GHR Foundation that expanded the microfinance program and started a reconciliation-through- peace initiative. Women church leaders in the EEL-RCA brought together Christian and Muslim women to discuss the consequences of conflicts and wars on women and the role of women in conflict resolution in the African traditional society.

  • Two satellite offices were established to broaden the geographical area for the establishment of new VSL groups.
  • In the beginning of 2016, there were 322 VSL groups. By the end of 2018, 119 new groups had been established, bringing the total to 441.
  • 11,888 members have received micro-enterprise training (4,898 men and 7,034 women).
  • 75 volunteer Community Agents provide mentorships, answering questions and guidance to VSL groups.

At the end of the grant period, December 2018, LPGM concluded support for this program. The work that has been done over the past 8 years will be sustainable well into the future.

At the end of the first VSL savings cycle, Andre’s wife had saved enough capital that she could help Andre begin selling sugar, soap, coffee and salt. Part of his profits were put in savings every week. At the end of the next cycle they were able to collectively invest in building a family home.

To this day their businesses are doing well. They can ensure the schooling of their children—which will pay dividends for generations to come—and expect more significant investment prospects. Andre shared that, thanks to your support, he went from being a paralyzed beggar to a responsible person, worthy and respected by everyone in his village.

Author Lutheran Partners in Global Ministry

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