The village of El Kom El Akhdar is celebrating a huge victory this month. They recently granted their 1000th loan since TOLI began there over a decade ago.
One thousand loans. 1036 to be exact.
That's more than 1000 new beginnings.
More than 1000 ideas made reality.
More than 1000 answered prayers.
And that's meant a world of difference for this Egyptian village of 20,000. Men and women now work to provide for their family. Marriages are stronger. Kids are fed and attend school. More and more people understand their God-given value, maybe for the first time.
There are now more than 1000 new services this village did not have before.
More than 1000 innovations.
More than 1000 conveniences that help people thrive.
A farmer can buy medicine for his livestock right in his own village. A woman can have her hair professionally done just down the street. Teenagers safely play games in the “arcade” after school. A laborer can buy gas right in town, instead of using a half tank to buy more in the next village.
And 1000 families have learned to dream and plan for the future. They feel the satisfaction of taking responsibility for themselves and the motivation to pay off their loan so their neighbor can get one, too. This builds strong bonds ofsupport in a community like El Kom.
In 1000 ways and more, TOLI has been a tool for the Lord to change this village's culture from the inside out.
How did we get here?
El Kom is actually the birthplace of TOLI's microloan story. In 2001, founder Dr. Emad "Eddie" Yassa took a group from his church in the US to his native country to work with Habitat for Humanity Egypt. Here in El Kom they were confronted with crushing poverty, but also understood that hand-outs would not solve the problem. The concept of revolving microloans took root — and bloomed.
One of the first projects was launched by an unlikely businesswoman. When Dr. Yassa first met her, she was hopeless — elderly and unable to walk, living in unbearable circumstances. His heart was broken, and simply giving money wasn't the solution. So an idea was hatched: she would use a bench outside her home where she could sit with a cell phone and allow people to pay by the minute to make phone calls. The idea worked. Soon, she was not only selling phone minutes, but selling items to her customers at this little 'bench business.'
Today, one person out of every 20 in this town has used a TOLI microloan. When Dr. Yassa and leaders visited last March, the mayor and other local leaders came out to greet "Dr Emad," to welcome him and the team to honor the profound transformation the program has brought to their community. The presence of TOLI’s founder was big news in the village!
As we celebrate El Kom's 1000 loans, we give thanks for the very first. And we praise God that he uses small beginnings to create beauty, joy and hope in unexpected places.
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin. — Zechariah 4:10 (NLT)
PS. Here's the icing on the cake: El Kom's program has been self-sufficient for years. Because TOLI loans are revolving, when a recipient pays back a loan, it is then reinvested in the same community. So El Kom El Akhdar has been building itself, thanks to the faithful loan repayment of our clients.
Let's go for another 1000!
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Thank you for your continued support! Together, we can bring restoration and God's hope to countless lives.