Micro Loans

Micro LoanFollowing the 2004 flood, the people of Poteau asked to start a micro-loan program. This program has flourished and grown from the initial 15 persons to the current 305 in 2009 and has had only one person to default. What resulted from this growing microloan program is the Ti Marche Chretien   (translated -“Christian Small Market”). Each person in the Ti Marche Chretien is assigned to a solidarity group who works together to pool resources, purchases items as a group, and work together in their sales. Because of their group, if a member has illness or difficulties, other members assist until that person is able to achieve their goals.

A typical loan is $200. With this loan the recipient typically receives a month of intensive teaching on business basics including bookkeeping and how to open their own savings account.  Almost all participants have been able to earn 50-100% return on their loans. With the earnings members are able to purchase food, medicines, medical care, and education. Research has even shown a decrease in domestic violence as a result of the enhanced status of ladies who participate in these projects.

With the profit from these loans (and no outside assistance), Ti Marche Chretien has been constructing a training center in Poteau. When a neighboring church lost their roof in a tropical storm, Ti Marche Chretien provided the funds for its repair. Although a majority of the initial capital for the loans was provided by US donors, an increasing amount of money for loans has been generated by Ti Marche Chretien interest. In this way Haitian people continue their efforts to make their project self-sustaining.