María has a business selling catalogue items door-to-door in her community. She offers potential clients items such as colognes, cosmetics, underwear and jewelry in an effort to make a contribution to the family income. María´s husband earns a living as a fisherman when he can, but often the fishing season is restricted, forcing him to find other types of work in order to satisfy the families basic financial needs.
María plans to use this loan to finance the purchase of various catalogue products. She has already collected the orders from clients in her community. All she requires now is the working capital to purchase the items she intends to sell. In order to make these purchases, María must travel by boat to Puntarenas, across the Nicoya Gulf, which takes about two hours each way.
María is a hard-working, ambitious entrepreneur. She organizes her day in order to optimize her productivity. In the mornings, she carries out the domestic tasks at home and sends her daughter to school. When María travels to Puntarenas, she wakes up at 4 AM because the boat leaves at 6 AM and the walk from her home to where the boat leaves is long. In the afternoons, she visits her clients and collects orders. At night, María attends night school where she is in the process of completing her high school certificate.
María's goals are to increase her client base and have clients in all parts of the Isla de Chira (the island where she lives). She hopes to be able to finance the studies of her daughter in the future. María says her main obstacle is the competition she faces from other vendors. She doesn´t let this factor deter her though because she says, ¨there is sufficient diversity in products.¨
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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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