Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


Microcredit - Big Changes

At right is Salón Fantasia Joanna, which was started with a microcredit loan offered through a program of the Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic.

Beauty Salon owner, Joanna, in front of her salon. Inside is a small sales counter for various related products, which is itself another small business funded through the microcredit program.

Small loans, some as little as $100 US, are making big changes in the lives of women in the Dominican Republic. The microcredit program run by the Diocese of the Dominican Republic helps with start-up cost as well as business know how to give the loan recipients the best possible start in a new venture.

Follow up is the key and the program has spiritual as well as economic components to support the women as they start their businesses. Rather than individual loans, the program works with small groups of women, which means those getting a loan have mutual support. Each group comes together every 15 days for some spiritual support and to go over their businesses. By providing such close support, the program boasts a 100% payback rate on its loans while the businesses themselves enjoy a 94% success rate.

This microcredit program had note been offered on the border with Haiti due to issues with contraband sales in the area. In the wake of the earthquake in Haiti, the program is finding a home one the border to meet the needs of shop owner and customer alike and the Diocese of the Dominican Republic is finding ways to make sure the businesses succeed.

Each local microcredit program is designed to become self-supporting in the third year as it makes all new loans from the money paid back from earlier loans. In this way, donations to the program becoming self-perpetuating so that the money given keeps on giving to the women of the DR.

This is yet another innovative way that The Episcopal Church is responding to the very real needs of the people in the communities they serve.


Down the street from Joanna's beauty shop is a small shop selling goods off the front porch of the owner (at far right). This store was also started through the microcredit program.



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