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 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.
  • $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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  • $2.25 a day

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

  • 11

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

  • 300,000

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

Latashe's Story

Latashe's Story

Over the years we've learnt a lot about best practice aid and development. One of the clearest ways we're moving forward in this area is through Self Help Groups, of which Latashe is a member. 

“After I joined the Self Help Group in 2008, hope began. Most of us used to stay at home, dependent on our husbands.  But now all the members are engaged in different kinds of income generating activities. I praise God because he has prepared things for me to do in advance and I am realising them through this business.

My name is Latashe and I am 65 years old. For years I used to prepare a local beverage for people to get drunk on at my house. To finance my small business I used money lenders who charged much interest but the profit wasn’t enough to even feed myself.

My husband died many years ago and although I wanted to give birth to more children; I only had one son.

When I first heard about the idea of a Self Help Group I was unhappy and angry because what I needed at the time was money or something to eat – not something that might pay off in a year or so. Therefore, I told Tearfund’s partner (Wollita Kalehey Hiwot Church) to get lost if there was nothing they could give me. I was also very suspicious because of other so-called saving schemes to which I lost my money.  Looking back now I am so thankful and my heart is filled with gratitude for not giving up on us even when we were so difficult.  After I joined the Self Help Group in 2008, hope began. We each started saving 0.5 Birr a week.  Our first loan was for Birr50.  But  we now save Birr10 a week and we borrow up to Birr 5,000 from our group.  We have a total capital of Birr 45,000.

The Self Help Group I’m part of decided to use our joint savings and start a project to have water installed in our homes. We called our local government office and told them we had the money to pay for it. All 23 of us women in the group now have running water at our houses. Today my business is selling water to those who have no tap water at their houses.

I have a natural compassion for children and with the money I receive from my small business I am able to support three orphans aged 5-12. I do this because I believe the Bible tells me to and I’m happy to do it as I always wanted to be a mother to more children. Because I am getting older my hope is to prepare a safe place for all my children. I want them to be able to take the money I have saved and kick start a good life.  I praise God because he has given me good health. He prepared things for me to do in advance and I am realising them through this business."

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.