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Hand-Crafted Items from Myanmar, Indonesia, Bolivia and Kenya to be Featured at Silent Auction on October 17

Gala items

Five Talents' 2014 Fall Gala is just around the corner, and we have collected some gorgeous items for a special silent auction featuring hand-made goods from our program countries.

The above photos provide just a taste of what will be up for bidding: lacquerware platters and bowls from Myanmar, hand-knit pillow cases from Bolivia, intricate silver jewelry from Indonesia, lovely handbags and purses from Kenya... the list goes on and on.

For photo previews of the hand-crafted silent auction items, visit the Fall Gala Facebook Page and be sure to RSVP so you will be notified of subsequent updates.

Click here to reserve seats for the Fall Gala, which will be held at a private country club in Bethesda, MD and include dinner, live entertainment and a special guest from Five Talents' program in Kenya.

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2014 Fall Gala to Highlight Five Talents' Micro-Savings Programs

Gala promo image sm

On October 17, friends and supporters of Five Talents will have an opportunity to learn -- first-hand -- about the organization's programs in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The 2014 Fall Gala, titled "Portraits of Empowerment", will feature a special guest and speaker from Five Talents' program in Kenya.

Guests will also enjoy a delicious meal and a silent auction featuring beautiful hand-crafted products from Myanmar, Indonesia, Kenya, Bolivia and other countries where Five Talents works.

Attendees will also get an inside look at how their participation in the event and support of Five Talents directly benefits the lives of women and men struggling along the road out of poverty, through access to micro-business loans, savings group formation, business skills training, and mentoring.

Click here to find out more about the special event and purchase tickets.

Our annual Fall Gala provides a great opportunity to introduce friends and family to the work of Five Talents. Click here to invite people in your network via the Fall Gala Facebook Event page.

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Come Along On a Journey That Will Transform the Way You See the World

Walk With Us

Have you ever jogged a trail, walked a dog, or meandered through a park and come home totally and utterly transformed?

Perhaps you burned a few calories, learned something you never knew, or recharged thanks to a few moments of solitude, but were you changed? Did you return home with a new perspective about your place in the world?

Likely not. Upon coming through the door, you probably threw your keys on the table, kicked off your shoes, and moved on to some other activity. After all, there's always another task to tick off our lists.

Every once in a while, however, we are given an opportunity to participate in something special, something good, something with eternal ramifications. The two fellows that Jesus spoke with on the road to Emmaus certainly had a story to tell -- and re-tell a million times -- when they returned home from their walk.

"Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road?" they asked, shortly after "their eyes were opened" and they recognized Jesus.

Today, we're inviting you to participate in a journey that will transform the way you see the world. We want to introduce you to the women and men who are participating in savings groups, investing in micro-businesses, taking part in training workshops and striving to lead their families out of poverty.

We want to introduce you to folks like Deng in South Sudan, Edo in Indonesia and Simona in Bolivia. We want you to walk with them, participate in their lives, and -- at the same time -- transform your own.

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Financial Inclusion and Training Fuel Growth of Edo's Micro-Enterprises in Indonesia

Edo with dressThe transformation you unlock when you give to Five Talents looks a little different in each community.

For Edo in Indonesia, the transformation involved an expansion of her micro-enterprise and an escape from unhealthy living conditions.

Edo has built a micro-business around selling clothing, small electronics and – most recently – homemade fish crackers.

Business skills training and a series of micro-loans from Five Talents and our partner organization in Jakarta, The Gerhati Foundation, helped Edo to grow her profits, which she and her husband used to construct a humble new home.

Today, they have a roof over their head, a solid brick wall around them, and a safe, dry space full of hope for the future.

"I did not have the courage to own a house before -- even the small one," she said. "With Gerhati and Five Talents, we have built a small house bit by bit from what we earn."

The program, she said, gave her the support and determination she needed to make her dream a reality.

The program has also brought Edo closer to her community: "I got help from neighbors and friends, as well, during the building progress. I believe this help came from God."
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How a Tight-Knit Family in Indonesia Outlasted Floods and Continued Building a Better Life

flooding bojong sm
An illness in the family, a severe rainstorm, a period of drought – such events can wreak havoc in the lives of the world's poor.

In January and February of this year, hundreds of women in Five Talents' Indonesia program saw their homes and communities flooded.

In the following months, Five Talents' local partner organization, The Gerhati Foundation, came alongside each affected family to provide relief packages and to help loan group members get their micro-businesses back on track.

One of these women, Karuni, runs a canteen that caters to neighbors, factory employees and auto repair workers in Bojong village, outside of Jakarta.

Before joining the program, she served only a few homemade dishes at her stand. After receiving her first loan, she began stocking items like shampoo, cigarettes and noodles. This diversification has boosted her profits and enabled the family to improve their living conditions.

"I didn't have a decent house before," said Karuni. "Now, we have managed to renovate the house little by little. It is my husband who has been building it -- we didn't hire a builder as it would cost a lot more."

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Mothers Around the World: Snapshots of Micro-Entrepreneurs Providing for Their Children

Ajak_blogAs the sun set in Lietnhom, South Sudan, Ajak returned to her mother's thatch hut empty-handed, and on the verge of tears.

The 27-year-old mother had been sent away from her ex-husband's home just days before, with three kids in tow. She had no means to provide for herself – much less her children.

"When I came home empty-handed, I thought that was the end of my life," she recalled.

This is the position that many of the women we serve find themselves in before joining our programs. They are mothers looking for hope who want something more for themselves – and for their children.

Supporters like you change the trajectory of these mothers' stories every time you give.

The circumstances might be different from community to community. But the same shared motherly desires to provide food, care and education for children are present no matter where those mothers live, whether in the slums of Jakarta, the villages of South Sudan, or the mountains of rural Burundi.

In Indonesia, Sulastri, 33, and her husband Guono, 36, could not afford to send their three kids to school. Books cost more than $70 per semester. Uniforms cost over $160 per year. This is a fortune for a family like theirs!

But Sulastri decided to start a micro-enterprise to help supplement her husband's income. She set up a small grocery stall, and with a loan from Five Talents' partner, The Gerhati Foundation, she expanded her stock and began to increase her weekly profit – all of which went to her children's education.

You see, Sulastri and Guono themselves have only a primary school education. They want to invest in the next generation.

Thanks to people like you, they are achieving this goal.

Today, their three children have uniforms, books and role model-parents who are giving all they have to unlock a better future for their children.

"Knowledge has more lasting value than money," said Sulastri, "because money can run out anytime, but knowledge stays."

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