What is the impact of jobs for the poor?

Increased income means a chain of positive improvements starting with nutrition, better health, resistance to disease and a greater capacity for work and learning. Children's education follows along with increased dignity due to improved living conditions, all combining to empower and growing self-respect.

How do I know my money will create jobs?  

For 25 years, well-monitored Microenterprise programmes have been creating jobs. There is a continual evaluation process where results have been recorded and projects assessed as to their effectiveness. Transparent reports ensures objectives made in the field are being met. While supporting Microenterprise you will receive reports and the TEAR Fund magazine. You will also receive invitations to annual events where international speakers will brief you on up to date issues. With larger donations, we are able to link you to the areas of your passion and provide you with individual reports.

How much gets there?

On average 75% of money contributed to TEAR Fund is used in the field. The money used in New Zealand funds project selection and evaluation, advocacy, education, administration and overheads.

Overhead or Impact

The important question is this: What impact does my donation make? Lets break this down further. If money is sent overseas to a partner with poor systems, weak project planning and high administrative gearing, no matter how low the overhead in New Zealand, impact and real poverty reduction will be minimal. The donor may feel low overheads show effectiveness when the contrary may be true. The Microenterprise initial overhead may be higher, however the establishment of revolving credit has an ongoing economic value - funds are loaned and re-loaned. 
Importantly, some expenses here in New Zealand have a direct bearing on project success overseas. Some examples include the administration of New Zealand government grants, KOHA and disaster relief. Another factor making overhead comparisons difficult is New Zealand has no one accounting standard for overseas aid and development agencies. Audited accounts can vary remarkably in what is designated as an overseas grant or an overhead. Our overhead ratio means that we are appropriately but not extravagantly resourced to grow and expand in New Zealand, ensuring excellence in project support. This also guarantees experienced management while developing quality partnerships with high field impact.

Is interest charged?

Yes, interest is charged. This is usually at the bank rate for small loans in each country. The interest stays with the programme to pay the operational costs, keep pace with inflation and cover the small number of defaults. Paying bank interest is also an important discipline for the borrowers as a goal of Microenterprise is to graduate them onto formal banks.

What are the alternatives to loans?

We work in countries where there is no adequate social welfare programme, job prospects are bleak and access to fair credit is very limited. Running a small business is often a matter of life or death. Many people are trapped in a poverty cycle as they have sought to finance their enterprises through local moneylenders. They subsequently live in bondage, facing extortion and forced labour. In many cases our programme is the only doorway to hope.

What is my part?

You are the essential link! Your gifts initiate a process transforming lives spiritually, economically and socially. On average $200 would see one family on the path to independence. We would ask you to consider a regular contribution of $25 a month - this will build a significant investment for the poor to draw on. Your $25 will help several poor families each year establish self-reliant, income-generating enterprises.


How to give

One off donations or regular contributions from $25 per month.

Does the New Zealand Government  support TEAR Fund's Microenterprise Programme?

The government recognises TEAR Fund’s development programmes with a KOHA grant. This is applied to most but not all of our Microenterprise programmes. This means that each dollar TEAR Fund sends overseas will be topped up by another $4 by applying part of TEAR Fund's VASS block grant through KOHA. This greatly multiplies the impact of your contribution.

Is it Christian?

Our Microenterprise programme is motivated by Jesus Christ’s call to serve the poor and to demonstrate the compassion of Jesus. In the words of Isaiah 1:17, "To seek justice and encourage the oppressed." To bring about real transformation the spiritual, economic, social and political barriers that bind people in poverty have to be confronted. We are committed to addressing each of these areas in order to bring about real, sustainable and lasting change. Our field staff and partner organisations are Christian. Borrowers do not have to be Christian - often they are not.

What makes TEAR Fund's Microenterprise programmes distinctive?

We believe real transformation in a person's life, regardless of their financial status,must start in the heart. Complete transformation must address the spiritual, economic, social and the political barriers that bind people in poverty. TEAR Fund's Microenterprise programmes are distinctive - they are committed to addressing each area in order to bring about real, sustainable and lasting change.

TEAR Fund's programmes are all about building capability to allow the poor to have freedom to do the things they have reason to value. TEAR Fund also helps provide the resources needed by our partners to stand on their own feet. Eventually, the goal is that they don't need our grants.

TEAR Fund's development programmes aim to free those caught in the poverty trap by helping them to build a self-sustaining, healthy and enriched life. The goal is to transform lives by giving a helping hand where and how it's needed, ultimately empowering the poor to step into a life where they no longer need our grants to succeed.


David Bussau and The OPPORTUNITY Network

David Bussau is a Microenterprise pioneer in Asia and was the inspiration for TEAR Fund’s Microenterprise programme. A Kiwi brought up in a Masterton orphanage, by 35 he was the owner of a number of significant businesses. However, as a committed Christian Bussau realised he could be using his talents more effectively. Responding to a call for help when a cyclone hit Indonesia, he took teams of builders from his construction company to assist in the process of rebuilding shattered communities. "I saw villages receive a complete new infrastructure - fresh water, roads, bridges, schools - yet the poor remained just as poor," says Bussau. "There was little upward mobility, even after all that spending." Bussau realised the poor were caught in a debt trap. Twenty-five years ago he devoted his life to providing opportunities for the poor to break out of the poverty cycle. He set up the worldwide Microenterprise Development network, offering underprivileged small loans and training to start businesses.


Who does the work on the ground?

Our field workers are employed by TEAR Fund’s partners in each country. They are invariably nationals of that country. We do not send expatriate Western workers for two reasons. Firstly it is more cost effective to employ locals. Secondly locals know the language, culture and people, ensuring the programmes are appropriate and effective.