Carmen M. S., 29, has now completed three credit cycles with Friendship Bridge. With the first credit, she bought a single piglet, and now she has four that are getting close to being ready for market. They each take 5-8 months to raise to maturity, although some grow faster than others. She buys waste tortillas to feed them. A single piglet costs about US$20 when young and will fetch between $65 and $80 when mature. Carmen hopes to buy at least one more piglet with this coming credit, and to continue feeding the others until they're ready for market. Carmen did not have any schooling, and never learned to read or write. But she's making sure that her three children will be able to go to school. The oldest, age 7, is already ahead of her because he's learning to read in the first grade. And she's very proud of him.
About Friendship Bridge
This loan is administered by Friendship Bridge (FB), a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization that empowers thousands of impoverished Guatemalan women through its Microcredit Plus program. The program combines small loans averaging US$350 for four-to-twelve month loan terms with non-formal, participatory education.
As FB clients, women start, expand, or diversify their businesses and learn practical lessons on topics including business, health, and self-esteem. FB’s clients borrow as a group, forming Trust Banks (groups of 7-25 women who serve as co-guarantors of the loan and act as a self-regulating support network).