A loan of $1,775 helped a member to buy more chickens, guinea pigs, and feed for their animals and to expand their businesses.

Arco Iris (Cuenca) Group's story

The communal bank, "Arco Iris" (Rainbow) is located in the Tres Marías neighborhood in the parrish of Turí, which is 15 minutes outside the city of Cuenca. It's a semi-urban sector, the climate is cold, and the people are dedicated to agriculture and business. They celebrate the town's founding during the month of May. During this time, different activities are held like games, fireworks, and other fun things that attract people from both inside and outside the town.

The bank is formed of 7 members who are very responsible and friendly with everyone. The group is very united and collaborative. They are also very dedicated to their work.

We will now profile some of the members of the bank:

María lives in the Tres Marías neighborhood, is 64, and has been a widow for 20 years. She hasn't re-married. She has 5 children who are 40, 36, 34, 32, and 30. The oldest 4 are already married with families of their own. Her youngest son is still single and lives with her and keeps her company. All of her children help her financially since she has medical checkups all of the time since she suffers different illnesses because of her age. She tells us that she can no longer farm her land, and because of this, she has given her children their inheritance so they can keep farming it.

She has been a member of the bank for 3 years and has had several loans. She raises chickens, which will be ready for sale in approximately 2 months. She sells plucked chickens by the pound to stores or at market.

She now has 50 chickens, and she will invest the loan in the purchase of feed and more chickens so she can expand her business. Her goal is that God gives her life and health to keep helping her children and to see them reach their dreams that they have made for themselves in life.

Marcia lives in the Tres Marías neighborhood. She is 26, is married, and her husband helps her with their home's expenses since he works in construction. Between them, they have a good marriage, and they have two children, who are 7 and 6. They go to the Aurelio Ochoa school in their community and live with them.

Marcia works in a jeans factory from 8am-12pm and 1pm-5pm. She also is raising 15 chickens and 45 guinea pigs. She says she doesn't find it difficult to have 2 jobs. In fact, it gives her a lot of advantages since she has been able to buy materials like metal and bricks to construct her home.

Her loan will be invested in the purchase of more chickens to expand her business since each pair of chickens costs $5.50. Her goal is to get ahead, to construct her home, and to give her children a better future.

Mariana lives in the Tres Marías neighborshood, is 52, and married. Her husband is retired and keeps her company in the house. They have 5 children, who are 29, 26, 22, 20, and 18. All of them live with her, work, and help her financially. They live in their own home that they constructed with hard work when they were younger.

Mariana does domestic chores, practices agriculture, and raises animals. She has 70 guinea pigs, 40 chickens, 3 pigs, and 8 turkeys. She doesn't have a fixed work schedule. She sells the vegetables she grows at a market in Cuenca.

She has worked with Fundación Espoir for 3 years, and she has had several loans. The members are very united and get along very well. At each meeting, you can find laughter and jokes because this is a very happy group.

This loan will be used to buy more chickens and guinea pigs since each guinea pig costs $5. Their goals are to keep raising animals since this is their source of income.

In this group: Maria Rosario, Mariana De Jesus, Nancy Patricia*, Ligia Narcisa, Marcia Beatriz, Sonia Beatriz
*not pictured

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Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Tanya Harper

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