The Weekly Window: Driving Through a Neighborhood in Bekasi, Indonesia
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This photo taken by David Middleton for Five Talents captures a typical alley road in the Bekasi neighborhood outside of Jakarta, on the Indonesian island of Java.
Five Talents partners in the country with GERHATI, an organization that was co-founded by Five Talents, the Anglican Diocese of Singapore and the expatriate Anglican community of All Saints Church in Jakarta.
Click here to watch a video profile of the project in Bekasi, which provides savings and loan opportunities, business training for micro-entrepreneurs and free health clinics for group members and others in the community.
Son Says Entrepreneurial Mom Is ‘One Tough Woman’
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Several years ago, Rosma, a 55-year-old mother of six in Manila, Philippines, sat down with her husband to discuss that favorite topic of married couples: finances.
To continue paying for their kids' education, they needed to generate additional income beyond the husband's work and her own small variety store. The most feasible idea involved turning extra space in their home into two small rooms that they could rent out. To do this, though, they would need still more money.
When you hear Rosma talk about the business decisions she made next, it's easy to see why her kids respect her so much.
A friend had told her about Five Talents' local partner, the Center for Community Transformation (CCT), so Rosma decided to join a savings and loan group. But instead of using her first micro-loan on the remodeling project, she chose to invest into her variety store. By expanding her offerings, she generated more profit, which she then began to save.
After subsequent loan cycles, she had added to her pool of savings and eventually invested a portion of what she'd accumulated into the remodeling project. Soon, they had two renters, and two new sources of income. But then Rosma had another idea.
This Christmas, Share the Joy of Giving: Send Your Friends a Five Talents E-Card
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Over the next three weeks, you'll have to decide on gifts for a select group of friends and family members.
Fortunately, we've got a gift idea that we think you'll love: Instead of buying them a Starbucks gift card, or a tree ornament, send your loved ones a Five Talents e-card.
Here's how it works:
- Visit our eGift Catalog and pick from among the 10 e-card options. Prices range from $25 to $50. Every e-card features beautiful photography that captures an aspect of Five Talents' work in a particular country. Your purchase will count as a donation for that particular country and program.
- At the end of your transaction, you will be prompted to enter the e-mail addresses of either 5 individuals (for every $25 e-card) or 10 individuals (for every $50 e-card). Each person will receive an e-card explaining that a gift was made in his or her honor towards Five Talents' work in, for example, savings group formation in South Sudan (see the above e-card image of the "One Nation" savings group in South Sudan).
Your e-card purchases are tax-deductible, and they are a great way to spread holiday cheer and share the joy of giving with your loved ones.
With every e-card purchase, you are contributing to the transformation of lives in some of the most under-served communities in the world.
Click here to send a set of Five Talents e-cards today!
Five Talents in the News: 'It's Savings, It's Credit, It's Business Training'
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The folks over at the India-based business news website YourStory.in recently ran a feature artcile about Five Talents, in which they interviewed Executive Director Sonia Patterson about what separates Five Talents from a lot of other microfinance organizations.
"We are not a commercial for-profit microfinance institution," Sonia tells YourStory.in. "We are a nonprofit organization sending grant funding to organizations to enable them to reach the poorest of the poor in the unreached communities where other MFIs will not go because it's not 'profitable for them."
Sonia goes on to explain that Five Talents "is so much more than just one thing... It's savings, it's credit, it's business training, it's a spiritual framework on how you can use your God-given talents in your life."
We've received a lot of positive feedback from the article, including a comment posted at the end of the YourStory.in piece by Hugh Sinclair, author of Confessions of a Microfinance Heretic. (Earlier this year, we listed the book as one of our recommended reads.)
Sinclair has written about unethical practices within the commercial microfinance industry, and here he commends Five Talents for our client-centered approach to micro-enterprise development.
"We lost our soul, and to regain it we need more institutions like Five Talents and fewer institutions such as Citibank, Deutsche Bank and other profit-motivated entities who see the poor as walking dollar bills to enrich them and their shareholders," he writes.
Empower a Micro-Entrepreneur: Every $5 Gift Will Be Matched on December 5
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If you've been waiting for an opportunity to introduce a few friends to Five Talents, December 5 is the day.
Participate in the last matching gift opportunity of 2012 by inviting three friends to join you in donating $5 to Five Talents. Your combined $20 will be matched by a generous donor and become $40.
Your advocacy for Five Talents is critical as we seek to reach even more women and men in places like South Sudan, Myanmar and Indonesia.
Five Talents equips, trains and empowers women and men who find themselves struggling to sustain a micro-enterprise. By telling your friends and loved ones about Five Talents and its mission, you give us increased credibility.
Please consider sharing this blog post on Facebook, or sending the link via e-mail to a few loved ones who share your passion for the global poor.
You may also want to share this video that goes inside our program in Indonesia. It's a great introduction to the work that Five Talents is doing all over the world.
How Your Donations Are Transforming a Community in Malakal, South Sudan
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Editor's Note: In 2010 and 2011, we asked our friends and supporters to participate in a matching grant opportunity for a new project with Mothers' Union in our South Sudan program. Here, Five Talents Program Director Suzanne Schultz Middleton shares some exciting news about the success of the project.
Malakal Diocese is, of course, located in the newly independent Republic of South Sudan and is a part of the Literacy and Financial Education Program (LFEP) which operates in five areas in South Sudan, as well as in Khartoum in the Republic of Sudan. I want to share Malakal's story and give you news of the program's progress.
Malakal is the capital of Upper Nile state and sits mid-way between Khartoum, the capital of Sudan (some 700 km to the north), and Juba, the capital of South Sudan. This area suffered heavily during decades of intermittent civil war that ended with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005. Seven years later, Upper Nile state and Malakal remain isolated and under-developed.
Malakal's history, community and people represent many of the challenges faced by South Sudan. Fighting between local militia left more than 40 people dead, including one of the volunteer community facilitators for the LFEP. Rates of infant and maternal mortality, school enrolment and sanitation are among Sudan's lowest.
There are ethnic tensions and armed conflicts across the border with Sudan that have brought over 100,000 people to refugee camps in Upper Nile State.
I can't imagine more difficult circumstances and uncertainty than what the people of Malakal face.
The Weekly Window: Inside a Salon in Bermejo, Bolivia
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This week, we dug down into our archives to pull out this gem of a photograph taken for Five Talents by Daniel and Audrey over at UncorneredMarket.com. Follow them on Twitter at @UMarket.
In the photo, salon owner Delina talks with trainers Sara and Eva in Bermejo, Bolivia. The amazingly talented Sara and Eva lead Five Talents' partner organization in Bolivia, Semillas de Bendicion (Seeds of Blessings).
We recently featured a story on this blog about our children's savings group program in the country: Jessica, a sixth-grader in the town of Tarija, wrote about how learning to manage money has transformed her life and influenced her mother.
Happy Thanksgiving from Five Talents!
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The team here at Five Talents would like to take a moment to thank our supporters and online advocates for walking alongside us -- and our clients.
Without donors who fund our programs, without friends who pray for our staff and our micro-entrepreneurs, and without online advocates who put our mission in front of friends and followers, Five Talents would not be fighting poverty, creating jobs and transforming lives.
We are truly touched by your belief in our mission, and we wish each of you a blessed Thanksgiving with friends and family.
Please feel free to use the above image in a Thanksgiving Day e-card for your loved ones -- or in a Facebook post promoting the work of Five Talents.
And remember: During the holiday season, you can share some of the stories of transformation coming out of our programs via our brand new E-Gift Catalog. Every purchase allows you to support a program of your choice and send as many as 10 loved ones a beautiful E-Card that tells the story of your chosen program.
Help others find out what you already know – that Five Talents is fighting poverty, creating jobs and transforming lives!
Click here to make a Thanksgiving Day donation.
During the Holidays, Advocate for Five Talents Within Your Favorite Social Media Network
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The holiday season is an important fundraising period for non-profit organizations like Five Talents. You can help us by advocating for Five Talents on social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. A simple "Tweet", "Share" or "Re-Pin" can help connect your friends who have a heart for the world's poor with Five Talents' innovative micro-savings and credit programs.
Here's a cheat sheet ( downloadable here) that explains how you can make the most of your online advocacy for Five Talents (choose your favorite platform!):
Photo Essay: The Making of a Llama Wool Scarf in Peru
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Earlier this year, during a visit to rural Peru, Five Talents Program Director Suzanne Schultz Middleton and her husband David spent a few minutes with two women who make scarves out of llama wool in Chinchero.
Although the two women pictured in the photo essay below are not members of a Five Talents/ECLOF loan group, they gave David Middleton permission to take photos during the different stages of their work – starting from the point where they color white llama wool with a red substance that is actually the blood of a beetle.
What follows is a series of photographs by David Middleton that capture the creativity and skill of two entrepreneurial artisans in rural Peru.
One of the artisans with a spool of white llama wool.