Standing in the middle of Independence Square in Kiev, it hit me how much the people of Ukraine have been through in the past century. Spending time with Ukrainians, you get the full story of difficult years in the past as well as their great hope for the future. That’s what makes the Ukrainian sense of national pride so inspirational—everywhere we looked, there were blue and yellow flags waving, people singing the national anthem, and locals wearing shirts with the symbol of Ukraine on them.
The uprising of national pride is matched by the economic change that’s happening in Ukraine through HOPE International’s micro-finance program. There are 10 regional offices led by local men and women who are passionate about developing thriving businesses in their part of the country.
I live in the United States, where many businesses don’t last beyond five years. Every HOPE International client I met has been running their business for six years or more. This speaks to the tenacity of the clients and their ability to keep trying until things work out. They have a hunger to grow their businesses to serve their communities and provide for their families.
What an eye-opening experience to watch how the spiritual and personal encouragement of a HOPE International loan officer builds trust among clients over time and produces strong local businesses which stand the test of time. Ukraine is a country of determined people who don’t shy away from hard work. The HOPE International model of partnering its staff, who have the brains of bankers and hearts of pastors, with local entrepreneurs is making a steady improvement in the Ukraine.