For years, Haiti has been the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and many of the people have become complacent, relying on foreign aid to provide for their needs.
However, when we at AIM began sending relief to Haiti in the wake of the devastating earthquake, we began to recognize the industriousness within a large sect of the Haitian people who have an
earnest desire to provide for themselves.
In response, we launched a microfinance program in Haiti where we are working through our network of trusted Haitian pastors to identify credible and viable applicants within their
congregations, for small business loans. Here’s the story of one of the people we were blessed to work with:
Augustin Jean Louis runs a very successful bakery business called Boulangerie Pain De Vie (Bread of Life Bakery) with 2 locations, 3 employees at each. When AIM first met him he only had one
oven at the nearest location but was making a good profit on the bread he was able to produce. By his own success he was able to purchase 2 more ovens, triple his production, hire some workers,
and grow his profits. He has a dream of one day owning 10 stores.
With just a $500 loan from us combined with his own success and profits, he was able to open a third bakery and hire 4 more employees plus adding one more employee to each of his existing stores.
Augustin is an intelligent business person, driven to succeed, and is putting his fellow countrymen to work. Best of all, when we meet with him he is excited to pray with us and give thanks to
- Total Population: 9,876,402 (World Bank Development Indicators)
- Adult Literacy Rate: 52.9% (CIA World Factbook)
- Living below World Poverty Line ($1.25/day) – 55% (Unicef)
- Life Expectany: 61 (Unicef)
- Drinking Clean Water: 58% (Unicef)
- At least 90% of eligible self-employed lack access to microcredit programs. Unmet demand is around 270,000,000 (Unitus)
- Under 10 million of the 500 million people who run micro and small enterprises have access to financial support for their businesses. (Data Snapshots on Microfinance -
The Virtual Library on Microcredit)
- Studies of the impact of microcredit in more than 24 countries found that it allowed borrowers to increase the number of goods or services sold and reduce the costs of supplies and
raw materials. As a result, sales increased and profits grew 25% to 40%. (Unitus)
- Most microfinance institutions boast faithfulness of borrowers with repayment rates between 97-99%.
We have established working relationships with a network of 250+ pastors in Haiti, primarily in the Port-au-Prince and Carrefour areas. The first step in our process is to have the pastors
select some individuals from their congregations who they know to be credible business people as well as mature men and women of faith. Having the pastors involved reiterates to all parties
that we’re working together as brothers and sisters in Christ and there is as much of a spiritual component involved as financial – God ultimately provides everything we have. The pastor does
not play an accountability role in terms of collecting debt, rather he is simply there to invest spiritually and oversee his flock.
Our target borrower profile is similar to Augustin (above) - small-medium sized businesses, financially intelligent and business saavy with the capacity to expand and employ
more of their fellow countrymen.
Pastor Eduord Clerhomme (far right) with 5 business owners from his congregation who received loans from us. All are improving their businesses and faithfully repaying on time.