The Adelante Foundation seeks to improve the standard of living of Honduran women and their families through microfinance and education.
On October 28, 1998, Honduras suffered the greatest catastrophe in the nation’s history when Hurricane Mitch landed on its northern coast. Over three million citizens became homeless through the complete obliteration of 25 villages and 30,000 homes. A total of $3.8 billion in damages to property, communications and transportation infrastructure resulted from the natural disaster. This prompted Stanford graduate Tony Stone, who spent most of his childhood years in La Ceiba, to return to Honduras and start Adelante operations in 1999. Our methodology is based on the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh and our mission is to improve the standard of living of the poorest of the poor Honduran women and their families primarily through microfinance and education.
Over a decade later, Honduras continues to be plagued by high poverty rates and is now experiencing a dramatic rise in violence and emigration. This situation has created greater need for Adelante’s services for rural poor women to pursue viable economic paths out of poverty. We continue to work in areas plagued by violence and have not left behind our mission to serve the poorest of the rural poor. We lend to women because when a woman earns more income her children eat better, visit the doctor more often, enjoy improved living conditions, and complete a higher level of education.
The Adelante Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization in the United States and operates as a registered non-profit, Fundacion Adelante, in Honduras. We currently serve over 6,900 clients with a total loan pool exceeding $1.2 million and an average group loan size under $150. Adelante’s institutional indicators reflect 13 years of experience and dedication serving the rural poor. From September 2000 to July 2013 we have provided 78,703 loans to 58,209 people totaling over 14.5 million dollars.
Adelante believes that education and economic empowerment go hand in hand. We provide extensive support to our clients to ensure that they feel confident in their business plans and financial responsibilities. We nurture this belief through our extensive educational programming and our client-Credit Officer relationships. This combination sets us apart from other microfinance institutions and creates an inherent trust with our clients that translate into long-term loyalty. Our relationships with our clients are initiated due to financial need but continue to take shape through our educational programming, excellent customer service, and continuously expanding product line.
Equipping women with financial and educational capital creates a multiplier effect. Not only is the woman tremendously impacted but her family and community also benefit from her empowerment. Women are particularly powerful agents of social change because they invest more of their income than do men directly into their children for their health, education, and overall well-being. Therefore, our investment into a woman’s entrepreneurial development yields a vital return in the form of her children’s future.
Loans are given to solidarity groups of three to eight women who are collectively responsible for the entire loan. This model promotes accountability and ensures repayment without requiring collateral, enabling us to serve the most impoverished Hondurans who could not otherwise obtain financial assistance. Our main product is the Solidarity Group Loan, and our other products include the tIndividual Loan, Home Improvement Loan, and the Secondary Education Loan.
What I like about our program is that it intrinsically allows for the fulfillment of higher levels of need. A sense of belonging is acquired through membership in a solidarity group; self-esteem and confidence are achieved through successfully starting a business and paying back a loan; and self-actualization is attained when solidarity group members apply morality and creative problem solving techniques to come to the aid of a fellow group member who is experiencing difficulties making her payment. Consequently, clients are better prepared to meet the basic needs of themselves and their families – such as food, health care, and shelter. - Sophia Anderson, General Manager