CUBA – We are always looking for better ways to help impoverished people become more self-reliant and break generational cycles of poverty. One of the most effective strategies that we’ve found is promoting “microenterprise” and helping jumpstart tiny businesses.
A few months ago, I was in Cuba and met with a group of enthusiastic pastors. They each had jobs that paid around $60 per month, over double the national average, but far short of a decent living let alone enough to expand their ministries. The Cuban government recently made it legal for individuals to own businesses, so each pastor had started a tiny business on the side with the hope that it would earn enough to enable them to better serve their congregations. They each had a well-thought-out business plan, but lacked capital to really get it rolling.
One pastor was raising pigs, but lacked $2,000 to build a proper pig house and pay for a larger crop of baby pigs. Another was a leather craftsman who sewed everything by hand and needed $300 for a foot-operated sewing machine. Two pastors had joined hands and started a cement block business, but needed $3,500 to buy used production machinery. A gifted artist needed $1,100 to buy a special copy machine that prints on cloth so he could reproduce his small paintings for the tourist market. Two pastors were starting a restaurant and needed $3,500 for kitchen renovation and building repair.
After many hours of discussion and number crunching, we made the cash grants on the spot. I am thrilled to report that several months later every single new business is on track and will soon be yielding earnings that will benefit the pastors and the families they serve. By partnering with OBI, you have answered the prayers of believers in Cuba. Please help us answer more prayers in more places.