Note: Help One Now founder Chris Marlow is leading a team on a pilgrimage trip to Haiti the week of February 10-17. Dan King, one of the members of this mission team, is sharing his experiences here on the Help One Now Blog.
I’m sure that it was a day that he’ll remember for the rest of his life. I know that I’ll remember it, and it wasn’t a day of particular importance for me. At least not in the way it was for Richard.
Our team stopped by his house and art studio to deliver something to him. And considering the impact this event potentially has on a life like his, most of us would likely be trembling just as much as he was. He knew that we’d be there to deliver some money to him, but you just can’t prepare for the kind of life changing delivery we were about to share with him.
But let me back up for a moment.
Richard is an artist in Haiti, and a really good one at that. Through Help One Now’s partnership with the church he belongs to, he was going to be one of the first recipients of a microloan ($500) that would allow him to really work on his art so that would be sold all around Haiti. Part of the deal was that he would also provide 50 paintings that would be brought back to the United States to be sold as a sort of fundraiser for the microfinance projects.
After a couple of art shows in downtown Raleigh, NC, the paintings earned enough money to:
- Pay back Richard’s loan (making him debt free)
- Earn an additional $1,000 profit
- Fund two more microloans for other entrepreneurs
To put part of this into perspective (particularly #2), you have to understand that $1,000 is somewhere around 6-8 months worth of income for Richard. In fact, the average monthly income in Haiti is only about $120. So we just dropped a pretty large lump sum into his lap!
Not only will he be able to provide for his family comfortably for the next several months, but he’ll also be able to expand his business to do more things. I’m not sure exactly what he’ll do, but I’ve heard some talk of building a bigger studio, and maybe even starting to offer art classes. But whatever it is, I really think that he’ll find great success with the new ventures.
Not only is this a life changing opportunity for Richard, but it’s also allowing Help One Now to give a couple other microloans out to other entrepreneurs to grow and expand their businesses.
I love the snowball effect that good microfinance programs can have. I’m sure that Richard would tell you that it changed his life, and I look forward to the testimonies of the others who received their loans that day as a result of the investment in Richard paying off the way it did.