1) Micro-Loans and Micro-Leasing
At Vida Plena, we offer women from the communities of El Hoyo and Monte Verde micro-loans and micro-leasing as a way for them to start a small business of their own. In these communities, a woman is far less likely to receive a loan from a bank than a man in the same economic situation. It is a very difficult process for them and most simply don't qualify for a bank loan. Micro-leasing is a legal contractual agreement between Vida Plena and a recipient who is allowed to use an asset (such as a sewing machine, oven, air compressor, etc.) in exchange for specified periodic payments, by the end of which the recipient owns the asset. Micro-loans are small sums of money lent at low interest to a recipient for the specific purpose of starting a new business. The Chalmers Center graciously allowed us to use their proven Christ-centered business training curriculum which has been modified specifically for Latin America. The Chalmers Center is a world leader in educating and equipping churches and missions organizations to walk alongside people who are poor, breaking the spiritual, social, and material bonds of poverty. Check out this 2 minute video HERE from the Chalmer's center for a radical re-education in what poverty is!
2) Artisan Trade Skills
We host artisan trade training courses that are open to the community. Our goal with these events are to take the opportunity to invest just a couple days into the lives of the people who come to the trainings, provide a skill that can be utilized with very little to no capital expenses and run out of a home, and to train-up the next group who we get to employ ! We've done training in jewelry manufacturing already (thanks to Luke and Whitney Wright of MudLOVE), and plan on hosting another half week training course in soap and bath/beauty products soon ! We select the training courses based on the unique and ever-changing, tourist driven local economy.
3) Dignified Employment
"In the beginning, God created...." God worked, and then He rested. Part of God's work in creation was to make us in His image; fellow workers, fellow creators. I'm sure you've known the sense of confidence, pride, and dignity that comes with a job well done. There's a joy in building something beautiful, imagining something new and then seeing or holding it in your hand. It's incredible, isn't it? I think good work is inherently dignified. It's part of flourishing. One of our goals at Vida Plena is to foster creativity and build confidence through work. It provides an opportunity to address material poverty in a context where we can teach and embrace the whole person by speaking into their emotional and spiritual lives.