A loan of $1,375 helped a member to buy flour, sugar, a box of milk, a box of Carnation condensed milk, peaches in syrup, eggs, whipped cream, jam and chocolate.

La Huizachera Group's story

This community bank is called 'La Huizachera'. It is located in the community of Nueva Olintepec, in Ciudad Ayala, in the State of Morelos, Mexico. The group has 5 female members who know each other and are neighbors. They are:

** Mrs María Guadalupe G. C. who will use her loan to buy milk by the crate, flour in bulk – 10kg, sugar in bulk, baking tins and iron cake stands for her cakes.

** Mrs Reyna S. Ramírez who will buy corn in bulk and have maintenance work done on her three-wheeled cart (which is the vehicle she sells from).

** Mrs Josefina M. Sánchez who will buy merchandise such as soap, oil, diapers, coffee, soft drinks, water and sugar in bulk to stock her grocery store.

** Mrs Lucia M. Sánchez who will buy boxes of merchandise wholesale: tomatoes, serrano chili peppers and jalapeños

** Mrs María de los Ángeles Rodríguez R. who will buy merchandise: vegetables, tomatoes, chili peppers, rice, onion, corn, oil, and soup pasta so that she can make her Mexican 'antojitos' (traditional Mexican snacks generally sold at street stands).

Mrs María Guadalupe G. C. is a member of the group. She is 47 years old and studied up to the third year of her secondary education. She is married and has 3 children: José Ramón is 26 and works, Maritza is 20 and works and Pedro Ivan is 18 and he is studying computer engineering.

Mrs María Guadalupe has a confectionery and desserts business. She requested this loan so that she could stock up with ingredients such as flour, sugar, boxes of condensed milk, peaches, eggs, whipped cream, jam and chocolate for making her cakes and desserts to sell in December and January which is when people buy her cakes the most.

María Guadalupe started her business 9 years ago although she learned when she was in high school. There they taught her to make cupcakes, cakes, desserts, pineapple 'carlotas' and 'niño envuelto' (literally 'wrapped child', a type of jelly roll / Swiss roll). She has loved making these since she was a child and her family suggested that she sell them. She started selling 'panques de naranja con nuez' (a type of orange sponge cake with nuts).

At the beginning, her husband gave her money to buy her ingredients, then she started group saving with her neighbors (this is a very informal and traditional way of saving in Mexico). She saved up so that she could buy from large stores. She bought by the box load which helped her to make more profit. Her customers are her neighbors, family members and other people who her customers recommend her to.

Once a young boy bought a cake from her for another community in Cuautla. Now there are people who travel from Cuautla to Maria Guadalupe's town only to buy cakes from her. The business is important to her because it has allowed her to help her husband, to help her children when they were studying at school, and to contribute to household expenses. The business also makes her feel very proud because when it is one of her children's birthdays, or her husband's or some family member of her husband's, they give them a cake and no longer buy one. This makes her feel very satisfied indeed.

When they once had problems at home and things weren't going very well she managed to cover their food expenses and their household expenses and she didn't have to ask her husband for any money. Her business is popular because people always find her quickly. They ask for “Lupita de los pasteles” (Lupita the cake lady) and find her easily. The challenges which she faces in her business are that sometimes she doesn't have the money she needs to stock her business. This is the reason she left the group saving process and looked for a loan instead because she wanted to be able to buy enough ingredients to that she could sell her cakes in the months of December and January. With the profits from her business, she invests some, pays off her loan, buys supplies and buys food. She would like to rent premises and set up a refrigerator display case but her husband tells her to wait and he will help her. Maria Guadalupe's husband helps her in her business. He helps to buy the things that she needs.

Olintepec is a town which is still very rural. It is also a tourist area. There are springs which bring forth water and the Axocoche and Colibrí spas. The streams of these spas pass through Olintepec where their water is used to irrigate crops in the fields.

Maria Guadalupe would like to make some improvements to her home. She would like to plaster her house but that will have to happen later. Her dreams are to have an established business and to have premises in a busier area, where more people pass by. Right now she has her customers but she would like to have an established business. The improvements that she would like to make for her children's future is for them to be able to live more comfortably and for her youngest son, who is single, to finish his studies. She plans to achieve all this by being persistent, selling her products and doing her best.

Maria Guadalupe is happy to know that people around the world are helping her group and have faith in them. “Thanks to your support we will do well”, she says. The members of the group would like to say to Kiva and Fundación Realidad “Many thanks for your support. Thank you for this opportunity to grow our businesses and thank you for having faith in us. We will make our repayments on schedule so that you support us again in the future. Thank you very much”.

In this group: Maria Guadalupe, Reyna , Josefina, Lucia, Maria De Los Angeles

Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Linda Oxnard

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