Interest and Debt in the Developing World

Joy's Story In a culture where many people have arranged marriages, Joy married for love. Because of that, her family ostracized her. When she and her husband had financial problems, she borrowed money from an acquaintance to help pay for her son's education. Because she did not understand how interest works, she agreed to pay an extremely high rate. Within a month or two, she realized that she could never repay the debt and could barely pay the interest on the loan. Not only that, but she could not pay for her other son's education because of the large loan she still carried on her first son's first years of education. Both sons' futures were compromised because of her choice to borrow money. Her marriage suffered. She and her family were in danger of falling into an even deeper poverty. Widespread Problem This is a common story in developing countries. In many cases, entire families are held in what amounts to slavery to business owners who agree to loan them money during a time of crisis. When the crisis passes, they are in debt with an interest rate so high that they cannot ever pay it off. Often entire families, even children, work to pay off such debt and find themselves enslaved for years. Because of their low social status and their lack of education, they do not know that such practices are illegal. Even if they do understand the law, they do not have the resources to fight back and to get out of their situations. Often parents allow their elementary-age children to work for their debtors to try and help pay back the loans. This leads to another generation of slavery, low education, and poverty. OneIN Helps OneIN gave Joy a no-interest loan of enough money to pay back her original loan and to buy the materials to build her clothing business. She is now able to purchase enough supplies to keep her business going, send her boys to school, and pay back her loan to OneIN.

Prayer Requests

  • Pray for Joy and her family as they work to pay back their loan.

  • Pray for others who are caught in the web of debt and interest.

  • Pray for a change of heart for people who offer these loans and mistreat others in their greed.

  • Pray for the church around the world as the deal with situations such as these.

  • Pray for future OneIN projects and the continued support from those who care about the poor.

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