Our Story

Having observed the unfairness the poor have to go through to obtain financial assistance, she was determined to find a better way for families in impoverished communities to become self reliant ...

Our Founder and President, Sherine Genevieve Fernando, after a 30 year career in Accounting, Corporate Administration and Banking, moved on to doing something that had been very close to her heart, which is a unique micro-business assistance program. It is different to the traditional micro-loans and micro-grant programs in operation.  She called the product “Micro-Forwards” because of the very effective ‘giving forward’ cycles it creates. Sherine is a strategic visionary with a clear sense of purpose, creative thinker with an analytical mind, very innovative in procedures and systems, and has worked for seven leading international banks where she held senior positions in Credit and International Trade Finance. Her long years with the banks opened her mind and heart to notice something unfair happening in the system

A better way to assist poor businessmen -

The Micro Forwards model was introduced by her to provide a better way to assist micro-business start-ups or expansions in impoverished communities.  While the previously introduced microfinance model (micro-loans) has greatly assisted and still does a great service to poor communities around the globe, the debt burden arising from such loans that is borne by those poor borrowers is rather high because of the very high interest component included in their pay-back amounts.

 

Unfairness in the traditional system -

Sherine was perturbed when she observed that micro loan interest rates are very much higher than the average loan interest rates that the banks charge from regular corporate or business customers.  She realized that there is a great deal of unfairness which however seemed to not have a solution in the microfinance sector. The reason being the high risk the microfinance institutions face due to probable defaults on loans that can never be recovered; hence, they try to cover this risk by charging very high interest rates from the good payers as well. 

Not ethical to pass on the loss burden of bad loans to good customers -

She thought it is not ethical to let good well paying borrowers bear the loss burden of bad loans and thus be heavily indebted with very high interest loaded loans. In the normal banking sector, it is the bank that bears such losses and do not pass it on to the bank’s good customers by charging high interest rates from them. She wondered why it is then that the poor borrower is deprived of similar treatment.  

There definitely needs to be a solution she thought -

There should be some way out for these poor businessmen she thought, and came up with this “micro-forwards” concept that not only relieves the poor man or woman from the unfair high interest burden, but takes off the interest component totally.  Further, they are not even called borrowers, but givers because the moment they become self reliant with the funds received, they themselves are required to become givers and give forward through the organization to help another person.

Her story - “It was during my banking career that I was burdened with the injustice done to poor entrepreneurs simply because there was no way they could prove their credit worthiness to borrow. Numerous times I have come across such men and women who were deprived of financial help despite the great potential they had, to succeed in their humble little business ventures. Even if they were approved, extremely high interest rates were charged to cover anticipated risks; this is what is presently happening in the microfinance sector too. I have been divinely led to follow a different direction, and I am eager to see it materialize by working with a passionate and committed team”          

Psalm 140:12  "I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy"