Saturday, June 30, 2012

Uganda Makes it Two in Row!

Leslie/Todd:  June brought our Annual Lydia Awards Celebration - our opportunity to celebrate the microentrepreneurs served by our partners who are blessing others while they are being blessed.  It was an unusual year - of the 170,000 clients served by our ten microfinance partners, the three Lydia Award finalists were all men!  We have been doing these Awards almost annually since 2004, and that has never happened before.  Given that 70%+ of the clients served by most of our microfinance partners are women, it's quite a feat for the men this year!

The three finalists are pictured to the left - Nicolae, a custom furniture manufacturer from Moldova; Alex, a construction supplier from Northern Uganda; and George, a chicken breeder/retailer from Northern Sri Lanka.  After a Committee reviewed their applications, almost 400 people voted online, and the final votes came in at the Annual Lydia Awards Celebration, Alex from Northern Uganda was selected as the 2012 Lydia Award winner.  He is very deserving -- starting with a loan of just over $100 for some cement, he built a construction supply business that now has three branches and employs over 10 people.  He and his workers have helped construct and repair roads at no cost when the government was incapable of doing so.  He has used the growing profits from his business to support his church and fund a Christian daycare for 30+ children in a predominantly Muslim area.  We congratulate not only Alex, but CAFECC, our Northern Ugandan partner that has so effectively served Alex.  It is CAFECC's second Lydia Award winner in a row -- they are gearing up for a three-peat in 2013!  Click here to check out a 5-minute video on this impressive organization.

These three Lydia Award finalists may need to learn to smile when their picture is taken, but they have something to teach us about giving to support the extension of God's kingdom.  They, like Lydia of Acts 16, are using what God has given them to bless others.  God used Lydia to start the church in Europe -- just imagine what He may choose to do through these three inspiring men.