When we first met Mohammed over a decade ago, he was struggling to put food on the table for himself and for his five kids.
He was struggling — but he was also dreaming. He dreamed of creating a business that would provide for his family's daily needs as well as for their future. So he applied for a TOLI microloan. With that loan of about $150, he bought the ingredients and equipment needed to make and sell felafel. He mixed it by hand, cooked it with a propane stove and sold it to his neighbors.
And Mohammed's felafel was good.
Soon his business was earning good income, his family's life improved, and he quickly paid off the loan. But Mohammed kept dreaming. He took another TOLI loan to expand his business with an industrial mixer, increasing production and sales of his famous felafel. He quickly paid off that loan too.
Because of Mohammed's hard work and creativity, matched with TOLI's simple but powerful program, all five of his children are cared for, well fed, and in school. Now he's even sent one daughter to college. His family's future is forever changed.
Mohammed's story answers a few of the most common questions we get about our program: How long does TOLI stay involved in the lives of clients? And, are clients allowed to take more than one loan?
We've known Mohammed for over 12 years. His was one of the very first loans we granted in the town of Nazzlet Hanna, Egypt. In all of our sites, staffers visit clients regularly throughout their loan term, building relationships and getting to know their families. And because our model is to serve clients who are connected to each other — through either geographic proximity or because they're part of a savings group — we can see the big-picture impact of our program over time. Our partners in Nazzlet Hanna have been walking with clients and ministering to the community for years — building trust, praying for restoration and sharing the hope of the Gospel.
And do we allow multiple loans? YES! After a client pays back their first loan, we encourage them to apply for additional loans to further expand their small businesses — until they've moved up the economic ladder and out of our target demographic of the 'poorest of the poor.'
So what's next for Mohammed? Well, he keeps dreaming — now it's a dream of a full-service restaurant. And from what we've learned about Mohammed, that dream is bound to come true. We'll keep you posted.
Inspired? Here are 3 ways you can get involved:
1. PRAY. Mohammed is just one example of thousands God has touched through TOLI — and it all starts with prayer. Pray for our clients, partner ministries and about how you can be a part of this ministry.
2. GIVE. You can help propel another success story like Mohammed's. When you donate to TOLI, you equip someone with a life-changing microloan and the life-saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.
3. AMPLIFY. Do you have a small group, Bible Study, missions committee or business group that would be interested in hearing more about the power of microloans? We love to sharing stories like these in person! CONTACT US to request a speaker and help us spread the word.
TRAVEL WITH US IN 2019
Want to meet clients like Mohammed yourself? There's no better way to understand how TOLI changes lives than by joining us on a Vision Trip. We're leading vision trips to Kenya and Nicaragua in 2019. Interested? Visit our TRIPS section for details.
Updates from our other sites
— Program progress and political strife. We are grateful that our new program in Puerto Cabezas is off to a strong start — five poor single moms here have started small businesses with TOLI microloans in the last month. At the same time, the country has been reeling from demonstrations, police violence, and political upheaval. Please pray for peace in the country and safety for our partners.
— Community small business training. In partnership with First Presbyterian Church (Colorado Springs) we trained nearly 40 people in small business principles and practices in Kalimpong, India in April. TOLI Field Staffer Ashish Subba and ministry partner Pastor Mathias Subba played key roles in facilitating this successful week-long training for members of this community. Pray for the training to be shared and implemented by TOLI clients and friends.
— Praise God for small beginnings. This month, our first client in Albania began a business raising pigs. This 'pilot' loan is an important first step in helping our partners here establish the TOLI program. Please pray for Ilir's new pig business, as well as for field staffer, Nico, and our volunteer leaders.
— Farmers' small business training. In the village of Magumoni, near Mount Kenya, we're working with a community savings group of small scale farmers. This month we launched a small business training course with this group, laying the foundation for granting our first loans later this summer.
— Pray for relief from extreme rains and flooding that's plagued much of Kenya this spring. Our clients' businesses have been negatively impacted, so pray for their perseverance, as well as improved weather patterns!