Last month, a generous donor matched every $5 donation made on October 5. The promotion was so successful – we raised over $1,000 – that two more donors have stepped up and offered to match every $5 gift made on November 5 and December 5.
Every $5 gift made on the 5th of November or December will become $10.
Recruit four friends to join you in donating $5, and your combined $25 will become $50! Ten dollars is about the size of a small micro-loan in a country like Burundi. You and your friends will be providing up to five small loans for women like Leonie, who used a $7 loan to buy salt in bulk, which she then re-sold to others in her community. The profit she turned helped to pay for her children's education.
Promotions like this help Five Talents to continue working in some of the most under-served communities in the world.
Last Friday, we invited you to help us spread the word about an awesome matching gift opportunity. Every $5 donation made on October 5 was matched by a generous donor – in the hopes that we could use the offer to introduce Five Talents to new friends.
Thanks to you, October 5 was a huge success. By giving, "Liking" our Facebook posts, and e-mailing your friends, you helped us to raise over $1,000!
Think about it: In an impoverished country like Burundi, $1,000 covers the cost of providing loan capital, savings opportunities and business skills training for about 40 women and men!
We as a team feel so blessed by your support. Thank you for encouraging us. And thank you for helping us serve hard-working micro-entrepreneurs in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
If you're reading this post, you've most likely thought a lot about global poverty. Perhaps you've given to Five Talents or another poverty-fighting organization. If you've visited Five Talents' website before, you've been exposed to bits and pieces of our story. You know that we partner with local organizations to set up savings and loan groups that also serve as hubs for other anti-poverty measures – like business skills training, literacy programs and even free health clinics. You get that Five Talents focuses on under-served communities in far-flung places and works mostly with women.
But sometimes it helps to know more about the organization – beyond the stories of lives transformed, beyond the numbers in the annual report. It helps to hear from the people who are actually working there. What makes them tick? What part of the mission to fight poverty, create jobs and transform lives resonates most with Five Talents staff members? What gets volunteers to host neighborhood fundraisers or come into the office to stuff envelopes?
Well, we're about to tell you.
This week we are releasing the first in a new series of short, 60-second videos in which Five Talents staff, volunteers and board members talk about their place in the Five Talents family.
Kicking off the series is McKenzie Butler, our program officer. We'd love it if, after you're done watching the video, you would share it with your friends on Facebook!
In September, we'll begin celebrating the 5th day of every month as "Fiveday" – and we hope you'll join with us!
The name of our organization is, after all, Five Talents. So, we thought, why not use the 5th day of every month as an opportunity to invite friends – new and old – to donate $5 and spread word about the work of our organization?
Five dollars may not seem like much. After all, it's the cost of a large Frappuccino at Starbucks. It's the cost of a few apps for an iPhone. But for micro-entrepreneurs like Leonie in Burundi, $5 can do much more than provide a caffeine kick or deliver a Doppler radar image into the palm of your hand.
When $5 is given every month for 12 months, a donor can impact the lives of two individuals in a country like Burundi. That $60 will go towards providing loan capital, business skills training and spiritual mentorship for two micro-entrepreneurs.
Over the next few days, please share the above video on your Facebook page, on Twitter, on Google+, over e-mail -- via whatever means strikes your fancy. Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8jJ1-ytBXE
We also need you to do one more important thing: Register with Giving of Life so that you can receive two additional votes. All it takes is 30 seconds to enter your e-mail address and create a password. To get two more votes (for a grand total of 5), enter your Twitter handle (if you have one) and your Facebook URL.
I have worked at Five Talents for seven years but have never travelled to one of our overseas programs because I didn't want to leave my family for that long. But this past week I met Euphemie Karerewa (R), who recently gave her four children and her husband a hug goodbye as she travelled to the United States for the first time.
Euphemie is a literacy trainer with Mothers' Union in Burundi, a small African country the size of Maryland that is poor, rural, and still recovering from years of civil war. Through partnership with Five Talents, she teaches business skills to women who have no access to jobs or education. With this training they can start businesses using savings and credit groups.
Last week, Euphemie shared stories about her work at our Spring Gala, a charity event held to salute women fighting global poverty.
During her visit, I had offered to host her one night and so she came to my home where she marveled at a dishwasher, giggled that we allowed our animals inside our house (she thought our dog, Max, looked like a small cow!), and was in awe of our blooming azaleas.
We ate at Church Street Pizza and went to Madison High School to watch baseball and softball - a typical night for most suburban moms. But my favorite moment was a few days later when she and I had coffee at Cafe Amouri.
On Friday, April 20, Five Talents will host its 2012 Spring Gala at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, MD. Euphemie Karerewa, a trainer with Five Talents' partner in Burundi, Mothers' Union, will deliver a presentation on women's empowerment at the event. Here, we preview Euphemie's talk with a short introductory Q&A. She is pictured below on the left with her colleague, Eugenie.
What is it about microfinance that excites you? Microfinance excites me because it helps community members to use their own financial means and improve their skills and their life.
Why did you decide to work for Mothers' Union (Five Talents' partner in Burundi)? It was my pleasure to serve my church, especially the illiterate women and vulnerable people who never got a chance in their childhood to join school because they were from rural areas. I saw that nobody [other] than a member of Mothers' Union could be committed to help these sisters.
What do you like to do when you are not working? When I am not working at my office, I like to take care of my family and attend my college courses. In my leisure time, I like to watch the Christian TV channel.
Can you tell us a story of success from 2011 about one of the savings group members you work with? There is a women who, after being trained through the Mothers' Union Literacy and Development Program, began saving money through an Accumulated Savings and Credit Association (ASCA) group. She learned how to initiate a business and understood very well the core business principles. After some months, she applied for a loan from her group and went to hire a sewing machine. Fortunately, she knew how to sew women's clothes. So, every market day, she was able to get customers. After a month, she was able to pay back the loan and pay the interest to the group. After three months, she began to get her own profit that will probably allow her to buy her own sewing machine in the near future. Since that time, her husband has become more confident and started to assist her in sewing activities. Because she can return home with salt or soap, and food for the family, now the husband ...asks her views when it is necessary to spend money. Now the husband doesn't make decisions alone; he consults her.