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Core to our mission statement to “Teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” is our belief in the right and desire of each human being to lead a productive life, depending upon no man, but rather upon Christ alone. The disciple Paul spoke often in his letters about each man’s need to provide for himself.
The people in rural Honduras have very limited resources and very few opportunities to earn a living. Most of the jobs in the lake area are agricultural and seasonal with very little pay. To address these needs, Salt and Light offers both vocational training, often provided by the teams from the U.S.A., and also Micro-Business loans.
Our teams have taught classes in skills such as jewelry-making, knitting and crocheting, woodworking, basic electricity and sewing. Donations of tools, weedeaters, sewing machines, needlecraft supplies, etc. have provided the necessary equipment for these classes to become a reality. These newly learned skills can often mean the difference between a bare cupboard and food on the table.
The Micro-Business program, started in 2009, continues to have a perfect record of zero defaults. In order to obtain a loan, groups of borrowers are assembled who hold each other accountable. Some of the small businesses to date include clothing stores, cosmetic sales, tailoring, sale of fruits and vegetables, shoe repair, a bakery, making/sales of tortillas and tamales, grocery stores, cafes and pig-breeding. From a pool of seed money, this program is self-sustaining and, as the loans are repaid, the capital and interest become available for the next round of entrepreneurs. Also, part of the interest is set aside in a savings account for the borrower so that, at the end of 3 loan cycles, the borrower will have saved the full amount of the loan and can become self-sufficient.
Not only do the people receive money to help them start a business, they are also given the opportunity to attend workshops on topics related to business. These topics include marketing techniques, money management skills and other insights into running a successful small business.
“If you give a man a fish you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime.”
-Old Chinese Proverb