Generous Christians are changing the world. Habitat for Humanity will soon be the largest private house builder in the world. They have already built 60,000 houses for the poor around the globe. World Relief Corporation has resettled over 125,000 refugees. Christian microloan organizations have made hundreds of thousands of small loans to very poor people.
Opportunity International alone will make loans to one million families in the next five years. On average, each loan costs about $500, which includes training costs, and these loans are repaid with interest. Often a loan lifts the standard of living for a family of five by 50 percent within one year.
Christians today have a total annual income of over $10 trillion. Let's suppose the Christians of the world gave just 1 percent of their income for microloans of $500, the average loan needed to help a poor family of five. Assuming the efficiency ratio of Opportunity International, it would take just one year to improve dramatically the lot of the poorest one billion, often by 50 percent.
I'll never forget Mrs. Kumar's joyous, confident smile. She lives in a tiny one-room house in a poor village in South India near Bangalore. A couple of years ago the Bridge Foundation (a Christian microloan organization funded by Opportunity International) gave her and her husband, Vijay, a small loan of $219. They purchased a small, inexpensive sound system and a bicycle. With this equipment, the Kumars are able to provide the sound system for weddings, funerals, and other celebrations for poor villages in several surrounding communities. They now own three sound systems and hire a couple of employees.
Mrs. Kumar proudly showed me the new lighting equipment and the bicycle loaded down with ...1
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