ServLife has been working in southern Thailand since the Tsunami hit in Dec. 2004. In our continued efforts to help people have an opportunity to live life with a sense of dignity and have the means to provide for their basic needs, we have launched a special fund to give out small loans to unemployed and under-employed people in the region.
HOPE FUND REPORT – By Jason Foster, ServLife staff member in Thailand
Picture this, a small stilt village built on a brackish tidal river, with people fighting for survival. Living with next to no assets, spending most days and nights on an elaborate contraption, called a gachang in Thai, a holding net of sorts, floating on the water, anchored to the marshlands, keeping fish in their natural water as they grow large enough for sale on the market. Now picture this; a young couple with a small son, living in a one room temporary bamboo structure that leaks every time it rains. They’ve been fishing all their lives, but are trying to build their own business. To help, they’ve collected materials from the torn down post-tsunami refugee camps for free, and they’ve put all their meager assets towards building a permanent home. Enter ServLife Hope Fund. We’ll be able to give them all the materials they need to finish their home and build the traps, nets, and even the floating shack to keep watch over their precious goods as they grow; and all for under $1,000.
We have made some incredible progress over the last few weeks on our first large initiative since assembling in Thailand in March. We are steadfastly putting the ServLife Hope Fund into action. The fund is a revolving loan program, aimed at providing capital for start-up, revenue generating business, like the one mentioned above, for people who don’t have access to regular forms of money lending. Not only are many of the people going to be able to finally get to work, but in many cases, they will receive the Fund’s second goal; financial independence. It’s a beautiful thing when you can not only help someone survive, but help them achieve something they may have never dreamed of.
Last week we wrote the application for the loan, and a number of other documents that our newest employee, a Thai woman named Moo, is translating into Thai. We will have a handful of initial loans given out to people who are in one way or another connected to Hope of Takaupa Church, a church ServLife partnered with in many of the Tsunami response projects over the last 18 months. We have a goal in mind of having the loans given out by the end of June, less than one month from now, and it is our earnest hope and desire for the word to spread about who we are and what we’re doing.
The beauty of the loan is this: the aid doesn’t stop there. Each recipient is able to share the gift of hope with their neighbors and friends. Looking forward, with the amount we are investing today, we can empower 48 families over the next eight years, that’s nearly 250 people given economic freedom and justice.