Kenya

What our clients want you to know

We love to tell stories about TOLI families. But it's really their own words that matter most.

You already know that TOLI grants microloans so families in poor communities can start their own small businesses. But did you know that our social workers meet with these entrepreneurs at least once a month? That means that throughout the whole term of the loan — 12 to 18 months — clients are listened to, encouraged, coached, supported, trained, and prayed for regularly by our faithful field staff.

The words our clients share with us show the impact of the TOLI program on real lives, on real families, in real time. We thought you'd like to hear from them yourself. 

"I have learnt to never underestimate myself. I am now believing in myself more, and the ability to achieve my dreams. I have been able to provide for my family comfortably."  —  REGINA , shop owner in Kenya

"I have learnt to never underestimate myself. I am now believing in myself more, and the ability to achieve my dreams. I have been able to provide for my family comfortably." REGINA, shop owner in Kenya

"I have been learning that business can be a great tool for the extension of the Kingdom of God. We are very happy. ... now we can dream more. Dreaming is sweet."  —  JOHN , goat breeder in India

"I have been learning that business can be a great tool for the extension of the Kingdom of God. We are very happy. ... now we can dream more. Dreaming is sweet." JOHN, goat breeder in India

"I stand by my mother to learn hairdressing from her. I love to work hard and know that I am helping. We work side by side."  —  MARIA , hairdresser's daughter in Egypt

"I stand by my mother to learn hairdressing from her. I love to work hard and know that I am helping. We work side by side." MARIA, hairdresser's daughter in Egypt

"I am now able to convince my family about having a big vision. My family is very focused nowadays. My thinking has changed, and I am very focused on my good project. I am now able to see far."  —  NANCY , dairy farmer in Kenya

"I am now able to convince my family about having a big vision. My family is very focused nowadays. My thinking has changed, and I am very focused on my good project. I am now able to see far." NANCY, dairy farmer in Kenya



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A delicious way to support TOLI

Acclaimed food truck GOLD STAR PIES and TOLI are partnering up in a sweet fundraising event! 

Come pay whatever you wish for a piece of pie and 100% of the money will fund TOLI microloans to our partners around the world. Our goal for the day is to raise $2,500, enough to fund 10 loans. And we're getting a little competitive too...

YOU COULD WIN A PRIVATE PIE TRUCK PARTY FOR 25... The person who pays the most for a slice of pie during the event wins a private pie truck party for 25 people! There will be swag, coffee, competition, pie, and tons of love. 

Get Pie. Give Hope. // Downtown COS Food Truck event
WHEN:
Sunday Nov. 11, 10-2pm
WHERE: 302 E. Platte Ave., Colorado Springs, CO 80903 (corner of Platte and Weber, in front of The Cupcake Girls)

Many thanks to our fabulous sponsor, Gold Star Pies, which serves up award-winning sweet pies all over Colorado Springs and is owned by baker-entrepreneur Heather Briggs. We are honored to partner with you! 


Come meet, greet, and pray with one of our Kenyan partners

We're thrilled to host Humphrey Kanga, founder and director of KCK Ministries in Kenya and a key TOLI program partner. Come meet him and pray with us at the next #TOLITuesday Prayer Gathering. You'll hear from Humphrey, as well as stories and specific prayer requests from our field staff for individual clients and their families. And then together we'll pray for them, by name. Please join us!

#TOLITuesday Prayer Gathering // 2nd Tuesday of each month
When:
Nov. 13, 12pm-1pm
Where: 5785 N. Union Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80918

If you have questions, or would prefer to join us by phone to pray, please email Linda Hood, our TOLI Prayer Coordinator. 

Humphrey Kanga (right) with TOLI Founder Emad Yassa (left) and Executive Director Abigail McConnell (center) visiting a client's business in Kenya.

Humphrey Kanga (right) with TOLI Founder Emad Yassa (left) and Executive Director Abigail McConnell (center) visiting a client's business in Kenya.


This is someone you're going to want to root for

From our Executive Director


Let me introduce you to a friend. I first met Esther last fall at her home—two small rooms divided by hanging sheets. There she lives with her children, her siblings and her siblings' children—eight of them all together. That day, Esther proudly showed me pictures of her kids, talked about her dreams, and prayed with our team as we stood shoulder to shoulder in that dimly lit room.

This month, Esther became a TOLI client—and a small business owner.

And she has been preparing. She's spent months taking part in a women's savings group, attending TOLI business training, and working with our social worker to create a business plan. 

Esther (left) sorts her new clothing inventory with TOLI staffer Lucy (right).

Esther (left) sorts her new clothing inventory with TOLI staffer Lucy (right).

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“I hope to have my own home with my family, educate my kids and raise our standard of living.” — Esther, 29

 

Now, Esther is a saleswoman of women's undergarments and clothes. She bought her inventory with a TOLI microloan of about $200, which she'll pay back in monthly installments over one year. Even though Esther only has a fourth grade education, she knows how to work hard, and how to serve. Esther volunteers her time to help clean her local church.

It may seem like the odds are against a 29-year-old single mother of eight in rural Kenya. And it's true Esther has a long road ahead. But she won't be alone. Our TOLI staffer Lucy, who's from Esther's very same community, will support her as she builds this brand new life, cheering her on, helping her stay brave, and pointing her to Jesus every step of the way. I feel so honored to know them both. 

I'll let you in on a little secret, if you can't already tell: Esther is one of my favorite clients. For some reason I find myself rooting for her extra hard.

Will you root for her too? Will you pray for her?

After all, isn't that what praying for each other really is—brothers and sisters rooting for each other before God? You and Esther and I, we're bound together as God's family. So we pull for each other and we root for each other—and in doing so we discover hope and dignity when we realize that God himself is rooting for us too.  

With gratitude and joy, 

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Abigail McConnell
Executive Director

PS: Scroll down to see how you can LITERALLY JOIN US in prayer next month...



Come pray with us — in our new office space

Big things happen when people pray. That's why we're inviting you to come pray with us—in person—for our clients, just like Esther, and for what God is doing through TOLI. Here's the best part: we have a new office space where we can gather together to pray! We're so excited to share it with you.

With specific and up-to-the-minute prayer requests submitted directly from our field staff, we will lift up clients by name, social workers, our ministry partners in different countries, and the entire TOLI family of supporters. Please join us!

#TOLITuesday Prayer Gathering // 2nd Tuesday of each month
When:
August 14, 12pm-1pm
Where: 5785 N. Union Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80918

We want this to be a tangible way for you to engage with TOLI. No gift is more powerful or more vital than the gift of prayer. 

If you have questions, or would prefer to join us by phone to pray, please email Linda Hood, our TOLI Prayer Coordinator. 
 

3 inspiring stories fresh from the field

Over the past few weeks, we've met face to face with dozens of clients in Egypt and Kenya to hear about their lives, check on their progress, and pray together. We were thrilled at their successes and inspired by what God is doing in their lives. Here are three of our favorite stories...


Fayez Hanna: Overcoming disability and finding joy

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Fayez was born with cerebral palsy in El Khom el Akhdar, Egypt. Because of his physical and mental disabilities he had never been able to have a job. Idle and unhappy, he was a burden to his already struggling family. Then, TOLI helped him start a small project with a microloan. He bought an inventory of candy and sweets, and decided to try to sell them from a cart outside of churches and schools. It worked. Fayez soon was working regularly and earning steady income. The extra money helped, but his family also noticed how much happier and more stable Fayez had become. He no longer fought with family and neighbors. He had purpose and began setting goals for himself. Fayez is now completely independent, earns his own income, and contributes to the needs of his widowed mom as well. Fayez's loan is now paid off, and he continues to be one the most popular guys on the block. 


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Raooth Atta: Empowered to care for her family

When Raooth's husband was severely injured in an accident, he lost his ability to work and required full-time in-home care. With both of them now unemployed and housebound, their situation looked bleak. But soon Raooth found a creative solution using a TOLI microloan and a stock of fish. Because catfish are able to live for a long time in containers, she realized she can sell them right in front of her house, allowing her to continue to care for her husband as well as earn an income. She now has a bustling business offering her customers fresh catfish, which she cleans and filets as she sells them. With the income her catfish business is earning, she's now able to pay for her husband’s medical treatment and support her three young kids. 


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Stella Mumbua: Head of household at age 25

Stella is determined to overcome her obstacles. At just 25, she's an orphan, a single mom to 8-year-old Hanson, and the guardian to her two elementary school-aged siblings. But with grit, charisma and her energetic personality, Stella is fighting hard for her family. We visited her tidy one-room apartment, where she was thrilled to show us her new clothing inventory, recently purchased with a TOLI loan. Her clothing business clientele is growing steadily. What's more, she is a member of 3 different savings groups, and meticulously records her weekly deposits in journals she keeps at her bedside (see picture above). Step by step, Stella is finding her purpose and taking charge of her life with determination, faith, and joy. 


WANT TO MEET OUR CLIENTS YOURSELF? 

Travel with us! There's no better way to understand how TOLI changes lives than by joining us on a Vision Trip. Visit our TOLI communities, meet and pray with clients, and get to know our partner ministries. Several trips are already in the works for 2019. Interested? Email Abigail McConnell for details. 


Other highlight from our March visits

EGYPT VISIT HIGHLIGHTS
— Our second site has surpassed 1000 loans.
The village of Nazzlet Hanna has granted over 1000 microloans and is now in the process of expanding TOLI to nearby villages. 
— Heliopolis Church takes a key role. A devoted group of volunteers is helping to grow TOLI to multiple sites around Cairo through their church planting efforts. 
— Field staff meet and collaborate. Social workers and program directors from our Egypt sites met with TOLI leaders to share resources and training. 

KENYA VISIT HIGHLIGHTS
— Small business training. More than 20 women in the village of Mai-A-Ihii completed a 4-day small business course, equipping them with tools needed to develop and grow their businesses.
— TOLI launches in Chuka. We signed a contract with KCK Ministries in Chuka, and together will serve the community by bringing enterprise and discipleship to their community through savings groups. 


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PS: We need you! Here are 3 ways you can jump in:

1. PRAY. The clients above are just three examples of thousands God has touched through TOLI — and it's all because of prayer. Please pray for TOLI clients, partner ministries and leadership. And pray about how you can be a part of what God is doing through this ministry. 

2. GIVE TO TOLI. We are reaching more people in more places than ever before, so we need your support. Please prayerfully consider a gift to TOLI to help us equip more people with life-changing microloans and the life-saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. GIVE NOW.

3. REQUEST A SPEAKER. Are you in the Colorado Springs area and have a small group, Bible Study, missions committee or business group that would be interested in hearing more about our ministry? We'd love to share! CONTACT US to request a speaker.  

Meet our newest clients

Get to know the women and the dreams you're investing in

Stella, with TOLI Social Worker Sam, with brand new inventory for her clothing business. 

Stella, with TOLI Social Worker Sam, with brand new inventory for her clothing business. 

Hanna with her new bookshop inventory.

Hanna with her new bookshop inventory.

STELLA has three children to care for, a promising idea for a new business, and a sparkling, contagious smile. When we first met Stella in October, she was participating at our mini-workshop in Mai-A-Ihii, Kenya. She told us she's earned money in the past doing laundry, cleaning and selling as a hawker, but she really dreams of running a clothing boutique. In December she received a TOLI loan to build her business. With the loan, she bought inventory and is taking the first steps toward her dream of running a profitable shop to provide stability and an education for her siblings.

 

HANNAH is 32 with two kids. She made a small income of about $30 a month sewing school uniforms, but it wasn't enough to live on. But then Hannah saw an opportunity to expand her business by offering books and educational supplies to her uniform customers. In December, she took a TOLI loan to buy inventory to create a bookshop. Already her business is taking off. After just one month she was able to pay her first installment back on time and pay her kids' school fees, which brought her so much joy. 

"Hannah is a happy soul. She has not been this joyful before. Her business is doing great." — Lucy, TOLI Social Worker

And Hannah keeps dreaming. When she succeeds, her goal is to buy a plot of land for her own home and move out of her in-laws' compound. 

 

Mary has started a new business grains wholesaler.

Mary has started a new business grains wholesaler.

MARY is a mom of three, and wife to Peter. Their income of $100 per month was not enough to grow a business that will truly flourish. With a loan of $200, Mary invested in bulk grains to be in cereal reseller. She is a leader in her community savings group, a determined worker, and her future is brighter than ever. She told our social worker this week that the biggest difference in her life since taking the loan is that she is now able to provide her family's daily food and that she has hope for her future business growth.

And these are just the start.

There are 8 new clients in Mai-A-Ihii with stories as inspiring as these, and many more on the waiting list. Women with capacity, abilities and generous hearts for their families and neighbors. With guidance from our field staff, these women are on track toward prosperous futures filled with God's purpose and abundance. 

So what's next?

We're eager to return in March to provide small business training for clients and community members, and to complete the launch of our other site in Central Kenya. We're so grateful for how you've invested so far in this program with your hearts as well as your finances — we wouldn't be here without you. So here's how you can help us build on this strong start:

1. PRAY. Pray for each of these women, their families, their businesses. Pray for social workers Sam and Lucy, for our local partner ministry, Comet House, and for the upcoming business skills training session. Pray for the local churches who minister to these families and faithfully point to Jesus as the source of lasting abundance.

Pray for our other Kenyan partner ministry KCK, with whom we're hoping to complete our site launch in March. We just heard that their call for applications for TOLI Social Worker position yielded 27 applicants! Pray that God would provide just the right person for this crucial job. 

2. INVEST. There is a waiting list to receive a loan. Even though TOLI loans are revolving and stay in the community, it will be many loan cycles until Mai-A-Ihii is self-sustaining. Would you consider becoming a sustaining giver? Consider sponsoring more loans, or, even better, becoming a monthly supporter. Just click here to find out how:

3. TELL US WHAT YOU THINK. Have questions about our work? Ideas for improving how we tell the story of TOLI? Let us know. Your input is invaluable.

4. TELL YOUR FRIENDS. Know a friend, colleague or neighbor who would be excited about Christ-centered, business-based solutions to poverty alleviation too? Please share this with them! Together our impact will multiply. You are changing lives. 



SPREAD THE LOVE!


Growing both deep and wide

We've just returned from Kenya and Egypt, where TOLI isn't just growing — it's multiplying

October was a banner month. After more than three weeks of travel to Africa and the Middle East to train leaders, launch new sites, collaborate with field staff, and expand programs, TOLI leaders are giving thanks — and taking a deep breath. Here are just a few highlights...

Margaret has applied for a microloan in Mai-a-ihii. She'd like to expand her small vegetable stand to a larger, permanent grocery kiosk.

Margaret has applied for a microloan in Mai-a-ihii. She'd like to expand her small vegetable stand to a larger, permanent grocery kiosk.


KENYA: TOLI's first site in Sub-Saharan Africa

— A team of 10 visited two regions in Kenya to evaluate new partnerships.
— We officially launched in Mai-a-Ihii, outside of Nairobi, partnering with Comet House Ministries to offer poor women microloans. We expect a second partner site, in rural central Kenya, to launch by March. (For pictures and videos, check out our Facebook updates)
— We're excited to be working with savings groups to strengthen our program here. These are community-based covenant groups of poor individuals who pool their assets to provide basic financial services to each other. They also build accountability, discipline, and a platform for Christian discipleship that will add a powerful dynamic to TOLI's loan program.
— We ran several workshops with potential clients focusing on goal setting; overcoming obstacles, and identifying how we're designed to work together in the body of Christ.
— We look forward to returning in March to run a week-long entrepreneurship course for clients, leaders and community members.
HUGE thank you to the Kenya Launch Team, whose generous support kickstarted this program.


"We've tried businesses before, but without a plan we learned you cannot succeed. We look forward to you coming back in March for the five-day course."

— Nancy, microloan candidate and class participant, Mai-a-Ihii, Kenya


TOLI leaders from around the world met in Cairo for a week of training, collaboration and worship. Photo by Jessica Birkelo/Alternativ

TOLI leaders from around the world met in Cairo for a week of training, collaboration and worship. Photo by Jessica Birkelo/Alternativ

EGYPT: New growth in our oldest program

— Five leaders continued from Kenya on to Egypt to provide a week-long small business training course and make field visits.
58 people participated in the training, including leaders from Egypt, Lebanon, India, Nicaragua and the US.
— For the first time, we assembled field staff from multiple countries in one place to collaborate, learn and worship together.
— A whopping 800 microloan applicants are hoping for a chance at a TOLI loan in Garbage Village, a poor area of Cairo built entirely on recycling the city's garbage.
7-8 new TOLI sites are being planted throughout Cairo, thanks to a strategic partnership with Heliopolis Evangelical Church.
— El Kom el Akhdar, TOLI's first village site, reports meeting all of its yearly goals — reaching youth at risk of emigrating out of the village, finding employment for individuals with special needs, and improving the development of the village as a whole. El Khom is now planting the TOLI program in three nearby villages.

We visited Soaad, a single mom of 5 kids, who built small shop with a TOLI loan in Nazlet Hanna, Egypt. Her business is successful and her kids are thriving.

We visited Soaad, a single mom of 5 kids, who built small shop with a TOLI loan in Nazlet Hanna, Egypt. Her business is successful and her kids are thriving.


We learned that more than 800 people have applied for a TOLI loan in Garbage Village alone. Would you sponsor just one?

A $300 donation provides one new loan — and the start of a brand new life.  Help TOLI bring restoration and the good news of Jesus Christ to more around the world. Make your quick, secure online donation here:
 


This is the start of something big.

Join our first-ever Launch Team!

You've already seen the power and blessing of TOLI's loan program in Egypt and India. Well, we're excited to share that we're preparing to expand to Kenya this fall. In October, a team of TOLI leaders will travel to Kenya to initiate the program with local ministries.

To start the program we're building our first-ever Launch Team. We're looking for folks who are passionate about TOLI's Christ-centered and entrepreneurial approach to poverty alleviation, interested in seeing it grow in Kenya, and committed to praying for God to expand it. We also need to equip at least 10 entrepreneurs with a new loan (10 X $300). 

By sponsoring a loan for $300 (or a share of a loan), you will help one new entrepreneur start a self-sustaining business that will provide for herself, her family and her community.

We provide the loan, small business education, mentoring, and spiritual support. The entrepreneurs provide the creativity, conviction, determination, and hard work.

Here's the best part: when the loan is paid back, it's reissued to another entrepreneur in the same village. So your one-time gift will continue to give hope again and again!

Will you consider joining our Kenya Launch Team? Click here for more details:

Can't join but still want to help? Easy — just spread the word. Share us on social media, forward our newsletter to friends, and keep in touch. And, as always, pray.

Together, we can bring restoration and God's hope to countless lives. Thank you for your continued support!