Prior to ASHI, Merlinda had no access to capital to support her entrepreneurial dreams. She joined ASHI to follow her dreams of providing a decent life for her family. To fulfill this inspiration, she took out a loan and started her own handicraft business. As she continued to take loans from ASHI and save some of her profits, she was able to grow her business. Many souvenir shop owners visit Merlinda's village to purchase her products. Other customers are Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) wanting to buy presents for their colleagues abroad. With the loan, Merlinda has noticed that her weekly income has almost doubled since she has attracted new customers with additional inventory.
Now she is proposing another loan of 20,000 Philippine pesos to support maintenance of her business and purchase inventory of raw materials needed for her handicraft. With the support of ASHI and Kiva, she is hopeful that her business will generate steady income to improve her financial stability and her family’s standard of living and support the education of her 2 children until they are complete degree holders.
Ahon Sa Hirap, Inc. has the distinction of being the oldest existing replication of Grameen methodology for delivering credit to the poor in the Philippines. With more than a third of the nation’s 90 million Filipinos living below the poverty line, ASHI was established with the vision of helping to alleviate poverty in the Philippines. Translated from Tagalog, Ahon Sa Hirap means “to rise above poverty.”
Empowering women dedicated to supporting their families through hard work and dedication, ASHI lends 100% to women and specifically the bottom 50%, so the “poorest of the poor.” In addition to general business loans, ASHI also offers educational loans, house repair loans, savings funds, and social development programs for its members. ASHI is committed to translating its social mission into practice.
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