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Families struggling to make ends meet want the dignity that hard work provides. They want the independence a steady income supplies. They aren’t afraid of the labor necessary to feed and clothe their children. They welcome it — but they often don’t have the training or opportunity to be gainfully employed. That is why microenterprise projects have become a crucial part of the Church’s plan to transform lives and communities. This kind of outreach gives men and women the tools they need to build small businesses and take charge of their future.
Workers and families hoping to rise out of poverty and achieve financial independence face a major obstacle: the lack of capital. A day laborer who doesn’t earn enough to eat three meals a day has no resources to invest in even the most humble financial venture, such as purchasing a pig for breeding. With no money to spare, and little to no business training, even the most ambitious and hardworking families feel trapped in their misery.
1.7 billion adults do not have a bank account.
1 in 4 people worldwide depend on subsistence farming.
1 in 9 people suffer from malnourishment.
1 in 5 children, adolescents and youth do not go to school — shattering the future potential to earn a living wage.
Families in abject poverty lack the resources to invest in small income-generating activities that can raise their standards of living.
World poverty isn’t a result of laziness. It’s caused by a lack of opportunity.
A subsistence farmer with a sixth-grade education has no path to career advancement. He lacks employable skills, he can’t go back to school, and he is too high risk to win approval for a bank loan to grow his agriculture business. He is trapped in poverty – a tragic cycle that will be passed on to his children.
For such people, the admonition “just get a job” makes little sense. In fact it is downright cruel to a family living in a remote community with no paved roads or running water, where an economy barely exists and most people survive on one meal a day. Systemic stagnation, reaching back generations, means workers must take extreme measures — such as traveling to an equally poor neighboring country for months at a time — just to maintain a subsistence-level existence in a dirt-floor shack.
These hardworking families lack opportunity. They require access to capital and training to grow their incomes and improve their livelihoods. They need you to come alongside them to support and encourage their dreams.
Microenterprise projects empower women and struggling families to start small businesses and earn a steady income.
Cross Catholic Outreach opens doors of opportunity for families who cannot access traditional loans or other resources to build a business. This is achieved through microloans, agriculture and animal husbandry programs that enable families to increase their income and ultimately support themselves. Something as simple as a $100 loan can have a big impact on a family’s earning potential. This money can go toward culturally relevant solutions, such as opening a small food stand, planting more profitable crops or purchasing products for resale at the market. What makes these microenterprise programs especially effective in many cases is that they include training sessions and faith-centered accountability groups that empower the participants to reach their goals.
Your generous gift to Cross Catholic Outreach will fuel the efforts of ministry partners in developing countries around the world to run life-changing microenterprise programs. These local missions, dioceses and lay-led organizations are positioned to identify the greatest need in their communities and direct resources to where they can do the most good. As families increase their knowledge and resources, pay back their loans, and continue to invest in their work, their nutrition improves, they become healthier, their children are more likely to go to school, and the chains of abject poverty begin to slip away.
To effectively meet the need for financial empowerment, Cross Catholic Outreach supports the work of in-country partners such as the Kobonal Haiti Mission.
The Mission and other Catholic ministry partners like it offer microfinance programs that give poor rural families a chance to increase their earning power without having to resort to extremely high interest loans. In the Kobonal Haiti Mission’s case, each participant receives a small-business loan at 5 percent interest. The repayments are then reinvested into the program to support additional loans for more families.
Some partners find it more beneficial to provide loans at zero interest, while others exclusively provide goods such as farm animals or seeds rather than cash. In all cases, the goal is the same: to give families control of their future.
Annecie Joachim is one of the more than 1,000 hardworking Haitians benefiting from the Mission’s microenterprise program. Annecie used her microloan to purchase rice, salt, oil and gas from a distant market and resell them locally. She then used the profit to buy livestock as well as a small plot of land. Thanks to her small but growing business, Annecie can now afford school tuition for her children!
Robe Berhanu, an Ethiopian mother, was able to leave a life of prostitution with the help of the Brothers of Good Works’ empowerment program. The brothers gave her training and startup capital to open a coffee and tea business. “I was at the verge of death,” Robe said, “but the organization has saved me… We did not have enough to feed ourselves! Now, I can buy whatever we want for living.”
Cross Catholic Outreach wants to empower local priests, sisters and other aid workers to give families a path out of poverty. But to succeed, we need your help!
You can donate below or browse our catalog to find a current project that moves your heart. Any amount you give is greatly appreciated. We strive to minimize operating costs and send as much of your gift as possible to programs directly impacting the poor.
Giving monthly is a small way to have a big impact. Your regular support empowers our ministry to respond to urgent needs and fulfill our long-term projects across the world.
What is a microenterprise activity?
A microenterprise is a small business operated by just one or a handful of people and financed by microcredit. Many families in developing countries depend on such businesses — often agricultural in nature — to boost their income levels.
How does microenterprise work?
Families in developing countries often lack the capital to start or grow their businesses. Cross Catholic Outreach solves this problem by providing microloans, farm animals, supplies and training to needy but hardworking individuals. A microloan, or microcredit loan, is a small loan given at low or zero interest to people who have no collateral credit history.
What is considered a micro business?
A micro business is a small business that operates with very low assets and is run by either a sole proprietor or just a handful of individuals. Small income-generating activities in the poor communities where Cross Catholic Outreach serves are considered micro businesses — such as raising pigs, operating a food stand outside one’s home or purchasing goods for resale at a market.
Proceeds from this campaign will be used to cover any expenditures incurred through June 30, 2024, the close of our ministry’s fiscal year. In the event that more funds are raised than needed to fully fund the project, the excess funds, if any, will be used to meet the most urgent needs of the ministry.