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FINCA International, Inc.'s Fundraiser:

Hand Up for Haiti

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THE STORY:

One year after the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010, its people still face enormous challenges. Help us keep hope alive for FINCA Haiti clients as they rebuild their lives and communities.

1. FINCA is making a difference for close to 8,000 impoverished families across Haiti,
helping transform lives, and creating opportunities for a better future. Ninety percent of FINCA Haiti’s clients are women, many of whom are mothers of three to seven children. They survive by selling food, kitchen utensils, charcoal or used clothing on the street or at markets. For these women, earning just $1 per day more can have a huge impact on the quality of life for their families, resulting in better nutrition, improved housing, access to clean drinking water and sanitation, and increased likelihood of staying in school—one of the best ways for children to break the cycle of poverty.
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2. FINCA has a long-term commitment to Haiti:
FINCA has worked in Haiti since 1989, providing the entrepreneurial poor with financial services to help them build small businesses, create jobs and work their way out of poverty. We have a long-term commitment to our clients in Haiti to help them rebuild their lives one loan at a time and provide a better future for their children. FINCA is there for the long haul, and we are investing in our operations in Haiti to expand our outreach to 11,500 clients by the end of the year and improve service to our clients.
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3. FINCA will stand by our clients in Haiti:
In the months after the earthquake, FINCA Haiti staff met with every client we could locate who had been affected to assess the impact of the earthquake on their family and business. We forgave the loans of approximately 4,500 clients whose lives had been devastated. Our goal in forgiving their loans was to help our clients to protect their remaining assets and enable them to restart their businesses without being saddled with a debt burden. This strategy, however, has had considerable impact on our interest income, and we will need to recuperate this lost revenue.
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4. FINCA provides a hand up, not a handout:
As Nicholas Kristof wrote in his column for The New York Times on January 5, "Those nations that have managed to lift themselves out of poverty have done so mostly with trade, not aid—with giving people jobs and a ladder, not handouts and an elevator," that is, by fostering employment to enable people to support their families and provide a better future for their children. FINCA's research suggests that 20-25% of our clients create at least one job for others, providing crucial opportunities for their neighbors. By promoting employment, microfinance is helping to rebuild Haiti, one job, one family, one community at a time.
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