I recently met a remarkable man named Steve Brookshire, an entrepreneur and philanthropist in Dallas, Texas. Steve’s passion since 2005 has been ending poverty in the Dominican Republic through microfinance. He channels his efforts through the nonprofit group Esperanza International. Esperanza is one of only a few microfinance institutions worldwide that has reached sustainability: through years of persistent effort in the Dominican Republic, Esperanza now earns as much as it spends in its programs that lift people from poverty on the island.
Steve has a laser-like focus on the issue of poverty in the Dominican Republic. He views it as a truly solvable problem: he believes it is possible that through diligent and focused effort in the DR, groups like Esperanza can eliminate poverty on the island in his lifetime.
There are six million people beneath the poverty line in the Dominican Republic. Steve is determined to use his energy, relationships, and creativity until these six million women, children, and men have adequate nutrition, education, healthcare, infrastructure, and economic opportunity.
I’m not suggesting that Steve will single-handedly transform the island. There are many people and organizations doing innovative and often difficult work there. Esperanza alone has hundreds of leadership and staff in the U.S. and in the Dominican Republic. I’m simply suggesting that we need more Steve Brookshires – people with sustained energy, focus, passion, determination, and a vision for the end of poverty in a corner of the world.
There are one billion people worldwide in poverty. When I first saw that number, I despaired. I thought, that number is so big – how can we ever hope to solve the problem? But my encounter with Steve has made me realize that the challenge, while difficult, is manageable. One billion people in poverty is 167 Dominican Republics.
If you meet Steve, you will know as I do that he will see the end of poverty for six million people in his lifetime. The world needs 166 more people just like him, to take up the mantle one group of people at a time. So here is my call to action:
The presence of poverty in our world is unacceptable. The problem demands our attention, our resources, our energy, and our continued action until all human beings have the essentials of life: food, water, education, basic healthcare, and the opportunity to be self-sufficient. Be like Steve Brookshire – dedicate a portion of your life to ending poverty in our world. Hold a vision of economic opportunity for six million people. Share that vision so that it spreads to others in your community. Take consistent and disciplined action on behalf of six million people. If 166 of you do that, we will see the end of poverty in our lifetime.
If you aren’t sure where to begin, start by learning more about microfinance and how it transforms lives:
I welcome your thoughts.
Co-Founder, Soap Hope
Please help us eradicate poverty: tell someone you know about Soap Hope right now.