A loan of $400 helped purchase supplies and wood to expand into making tortillas.

Dora Maricela's story

Dora Maricela C. Avila, 20, does what she can do to help out her family. She works along with her mother, sisters and brothers to make ends meet. For the past 20 years the whole family has been making masks and papier-mâché's for the special festivals in the area. (The picture shows the whole family with some of their masks. Dora is the second from the left in the red shirt.) She took out her first loan to buy materials to make more papier-mâché characters and also to stock the little school supply store she has in front of her house. Before she opened the store the children in the neighborhood had to cross the extremely dangerous Pan-American highway to buy school supplies. Now they can stay safe and visit little store.

With this loan, Dora will expand her business into making tortillas. She will buy firewood for cooking, and corn and lime to make the tortillas twice a day.

Dora graduated from high school by working during the day and attending school at night. She wants to continue with schooling to become the equivalent of a registered nurse, but she does not have the money to buy the required equipment and pay the US$30 a month she would need to finish the two years of schooling.

The members of her tightly knit family all pitch in either to work their corn fields (a two hour walk away) or make masks or to make tortillas. Dora's father is seriously ill and can't work so it is even more important for all the others to pull their load. Dora does not hesitate to work to help support the family even if it means she may not be able to realize her own dreams.

Written by Nancy Lewis and Randy Fay, Kiva Fellows

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