Since 2006, Mayubel has successfully paid back, on time and in full, consecutive loans in the amounts of 100,000, 200,000 and 300,000 colones. Mayubel is now applying for a loan of 500,000 colones that she will use to buy more items for her inventory in bulk show she can bet better prices from her suppliers. She is happy to be applying for a larger amount than she has in the past. Mayubel wants to purchase a new sewing machine so she can make her own clothes to sell. At the moment, she has one machine, but it is very old and doesn’t work very well.
Mayubel opened her business in 2006 with 100,000 colones. Before her business, she had a domestic worker job that required her to travel from Turrialba to Tres Rios (a 90-minute bus ride each way) every day. She worked for 7 years in a house as a domestic worker and was paid 6000 colones per day, which is the same amount she now earns by selling 2 shirts.
Having only completed primary school, Mayubel has few options for employment. Domestic work did not pay well and the job left her exhausted. She started her business as an alternative to domestic work. Now, she says she enjoys her work, and takes pride in being able to make a more significant contribution to family income. In a good month, she can earn 300,000 colones and in a bad month, she still earns 200,000 colones.
Mayubel tailors her business to a range of clients by offering a variety of clothing, for men, women and children. Her sister-in-law makes underwear, which Mayubel can purchase at a good price. The rest of her inventory comes from San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica.
Mayubel is proud to report that her youngest son is very intelligent. She wants to save enough money to enable him to attend university. Her other two sons never finished high school and now work with their father in construction.
The field consultant who has worked with Mayubel since 2006 describes her as very shy and insecure. Having loans in her name and handling money has made her visibly more confident in making decisions. Rural areas, such as Turrialba, are characterized by many difficulties such as a lack of job opportunities, infrastructural deficiencies, low levels of formal education and lack of available financial services. By lending to Mayubel, you are making a direct investment in the improvement of the life of her and her family, enabling them to help themselves.
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In Costa Rica, funding for microfinance institutions is hard to come by, and many institutions find themselves having difficulty growing and reaching all the demand for loans that exist. Kiva works with Fundacion Mujer because it attends a very marginalized population in Costa Rica, with a specific focus on women. In addition to the loan, Fundacion Mujer provides specialized training programs for their borrowers on everything from computer classes to salon training. Because of the difficulty in obtaining capital in Costa Rica, Fundacion Mujer cannot serve all the women that need loans. Therefore Kiva plays a unique role in helping Fundacion Mujer grow its portfolio and reach borrowers it otherwise would not be able to.
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