Players Trust Strives to Keep Women "Above the Line"

Mar 10, 2015 2:50 PM ET

Women comprise about half the world’s population yet about 75 percent of the people living in poverty. The Players Trust wants to do something about that.

Through its new partnership with Global Citizen’s “Live Below the Line” campaign, Major Leaguers are joining an effort to focus more awareness on the issue and help eradicate extreme poverty by 2030 but it has long been an issue close to the hearts of Major Leaguers.

Since 2006, the Players Trust has partnered with Esperanza International to donate more than $420,000 to provide micro-finance loans to women in the Dominican Republic so they can start their own businesses and develop financial independence. Through the program, the Trust and Esperanza have a common mission to help generate income, education and health as well as restore dignity to the recipients’ lives.

The program encourages women to attend bi-weekly group meetings, where they learn business and management strategies and develop sound business plans and practices. The combination of loans and education provides financial stability that enables impoverished women to secure their futures.

In 2014, the Players Trust issued a $100,000 grant that allowed Esperanza to extend 360 micro-finance loans to individuals in the area of Los Alcarrizos, 297 of which were first-time loans.

Part of the contribution to Esperanza went towards vocational courses, including a craft course in which women are currently learning upholstery and a computer technology class, which offers Esperanza associates and their children an opportunity to learn typing and software programs like Word, Outlook and Excel.

The Trust’s grant also helped finance an Economic Integration program, in which an Esperanza facilitator visits the new businesses to verify how the loan is being invested, to ensure hygiene and a healthy setting, and to offer guidance and recommendations.

The Players Trust grant also contributed the funding necessary for Esperanza staff to lead 80 health-oriented trainings for over 320 participants. Through these trainings, the women associates learn about prevention of various infections and illnesses, nutrition, STD awareness, breast cancer awareness and self exams, and are encouraged to participate in cervical cancer testing.

In a nutshell, the Players Trust partnership with Esperanza International instills hope, self-worth, and life-changing opportunities to the women of the Dominican Republic.

Anabel Santana, a resident of Yaguate, is a 24-year-old young woman, mother, entrepreneur and member of the Bank of Esperanza known as Lirio or Lily. For the past two years she has had her small convenience store, or colmado, and thanks to her loan she is now able to purchase merchandise independently.

For first time loan recipient, Marileci Moreta has watched her dreams come true through the help of Esperanza. After working in salons as a licensed beautician for six years, Moreta asked herself: “If I know how to do hair…and I can work for someone else, why not for myself?”

Moreta lacked start-up capital for supplies, but had heard about Esperanza from her neighbors. She moved forward with trainings, was approved for a loan for 8,000 pesos (US $178), and immediately got to work.

Moreta purchased hair products, a handheld dryer, and a professional salon dryer and set up her business in the front room of her home. Within days “De Mari Salon” was open for business and already receiving customers.

With her newfound income, a grateful Moreta plans to put her children through school and eventually expand her business. “Before Esperanza, I only had the hope of starting my business,” she said.

The Players Trust’s grant to Esperanza International gives women like Santana and Moreta the opportunity to create a business for themselves and support their families. This is just one of thousands of ways the Players Trust hopes to lift people who live below the line.

You can join the Players Trust in the "Live Below the Line" Challenge by clicking here.