Michael Mandanuay, in the Philippines, harvests a fresh crop of peanuts.

We believe people have a right to make a living and provide for themselves and their family, so we empower them to do so.

It’s near impossible to climb out of poverty alone, but when a community comes together, their many hands help to lift each other up. By providing communities with the resources and education to become self-supporting, it empowers them to find local long-term solutions to poverty.

This approach creates a powerful ripple effect that lasts for generations. As a pretty good side effect, many social problems are solved by the community coming together in this way.

What we’re doing

We’re working through local organizations to provide communities with the education and resources to become self-supporting. This empowers them to address the root causes of poverty and find local, long-term solutions to poverty, leaving the community with a sense of pride and achievement.

For years, ‘microenterprise’ or ‘microfinance’, that is providing a small loan and training, was seen as the way to help people. We’ve moved beyond that into new, proven approaches that truly help the poorest.

  • In Self Help Groups, members put their savings together to start collective businesses and advocate for resources from government and financial institutions.
  • In farming co-operatives, communities are able to add value to what they produce and access markets where they can sell the fruits of their labour and reap the rewards.
  • Our partners provide these groups with extensive training, for example, in democratic decision making and budgeting.
  • These groups also have a positive social impact, like giving women greater rights and allowing girls to go to school. In some cases, women have been so empowered they have become politicians.
  • $50 to $200

    The return from every dollar invested into a Self Help Group in Ethiopia based on a cost-benefit analysis

  • 200,000

    The number of women connected to a Self Help Group in Ethiopia, covered by just 200 staff

  • 3x

    Agricultural growth in low-income countries is three times more effective in reducing extreme poverty compared with growth in other sectors

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  • $2.85 a day

    is the New Zealand equivalent of the international poverty line. Less than the price of a cup of coffee

  • 9

    The number of countries in which Tearfund works, empowering local people caught up in the cycle of poverty

  • 300,000

    The number of people whose lives have been impacted by your support of our work

Zeudita's Story

Zeudita's Story

“My name is Zeuditu and I am the book writer of Michael Yirdan self help group made up of 23 members. When we first began in May 2008 we started saving fifty cents. Today we are saving a maximum of ten birr. Our total capital is about 44,300birr. Our group decided that we would start with an initial loan of 200. Today our loans can be as high as 6000birr. Praise God for bringing us this far! Before I joined the Self Help Group, I tried to get loans from other micro finance organisations but they kept asking for collateral which I didn’t have. We had nothing to offer and so were just sitting at home. Today, I can see that God opened up a bank for us while we were sitting in our homes. It is a bank made up of all of our homes and the people in them. With God’s help we’ve been able to borrow money and educate our children.

There used to be no water in this area because we could not pay for the installation of the water. Now all 23 members of this group have running water in our houses.  With the money I have raised from my traditional beverage business I have been able to send my child to school. He has gone to university and is now employed as a manger. I am so glad and grateful. With the profit and loans I’ve received I have also rebuilt my house. 

The benefits of this group are countless. I am so happy. We can’t wait until each week comes around to meet. We live in peace. We kiss, love and respect each other.  No-one is the same as before. No-one is going to someone’s house for things.

We know each other’s problems. We just look at a person and know there is a problem in that person’s life. We support each other during sickness and other issues. If someone needs to change their life we collect money outside of a loan system and just give it to that person. One members problems is all of our problems.   There was a lady that got divorced from her husband. We all contributed money and gave it to her when we visited her. There was another member who was sick recently. We all contributed money and visited her as well”.

How you can help

You can contribute towards starting another group of entrepreneurs on the road to dignity. You can help change the world not only for individuals, but familes and whole communities.

A monthly gift of $30 will:

  • Empower communities to create their own businesses
  • Increase household income and well-being
  • Help connect communities to financial services through training and advocacy
  • Facilitate expansion and investment in local markets

Donate Now

Your donation will go to our Enterprise and Empowerment work.


Get Involved

Thank you so much for your interest in our Enterprise and Empowerment work. Click here if you want to get more involved.