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Elena Mercedes
Elena Mercedes Meléndez Q. is a hard-working, 69 year-old woman who lives with one of her sons and three grandchildren in the town of San Jacinto, in the center of Bolívar province, in the north of the country. This town is famous nationwide for its beautiful handicrafts, especially hammocks, backpacks and hats.

This small businesswoman has had a dressmaking workshop in her home for thirty years. She makes dresses, pants, school uniforms, blouses and shirts. She decorates these last items, embroidering them by hand and sells them for an average of 120,000 Colombian pesos as they require a lot of work. Elena learned her trade as a dressmaker in her home town when she was very young. She watched how her mom made dresses and pants for her younger siblings. At the beginning, Elena used to sew her own clothes by hand, then her father gave her a family sewing machine as a present and she started sewing for other people.

This is Elena's first loan with Fundación Mario Santo Domingo and she plans to invest it in buying fabric, threads, buttons and accessories. Her monthly sales average is 1,200,000 Colombian pesos and her profit margin is 40%. During the months of January and February her sales increase considerably as there is a lot of demand for uniforms during the back-to-school season.

Elena is a widow. She has four children who all work and help out financially. Making clothes is a very enjoyable job for Elena and she will continue in this work while she still benefits from good health and embroidering, more than a job, is an activity that she really enjoys doing. She says with pride that she is self taught. She never attended any technical school and her biggest satisfaction is seeing her customers wearing the clothes that she makes.
View original language description ↓
La señora Elena Mercedes Meléndez Q. es una laboriosa mujer de 69 años que vive en compañía de un hijo y tres nietos en el municipio de San Jacinto, centro del departamento de Bolívar, al norte del país. Esta localidad es famosa nacionalmente por sus hermosas artesanías, especialmente hamacas, mochilas y sombreros. La microempresaria tiene desde hace treinta años en su casa un taller de modistería en el cual produce vestidos, pantalones, uniformes escolares, blusas y camisas. Estas últimas las decora con bordados manuales y vende en promedio a $120.000 COP por requerir tanto trabajo. Ella aprendió la modistería siendo muy joven en su pueblo natal, viendo cómo su mamá les hacía los trajes y pantalones a sus hermanos menores. Al principio cosía a mano su propia ropa, luego su padre le regaló una máquina de coser familiar y así empezó a coser para otras personas. Este es el primer crédito que tramita con la Fundación Mario Santo Domingo y planea invertirlo en comprar telas, hilos, botones y accesorios. El promedio de venta mensual es de $ 1.200.000 COP y su margen de utilidad es del 40%. En los meses de Enero y Febrero las ventas aumentan considerablemente por la demanda de uniformes para la temporada escolar. La señora Elena es viuda, tiene cuatro hijos que trabajan y le colaboran económicamente. Confeccionar prendas de vestir es para ella un oficio muy agradable que seguirá ejerciendo mientras tenga buena salud y bordar, más que un trabajo, es una actividad que la entretiene. Dice con orgullo que es una autodidacta, nunca asistió a ninguna escuela técnica y su mayor satisfacción es ver lucir a sus clientes la ropa que ella produce.

Additional Information

About Fundación Mario Santo Domingo

Fundación Mario Santo Domingo (FMSD) is a non-profit organization in northern Colombia dedicated to developing programs for the country’s poorest communities. In addition to numerous social services, FMSD runs a microfinance program to strengthen micro-businesses in the areas where it works. The organization also offers several non-financial components as part of this program, including training to help entrepreneurs start their own businesses.

About Colombia

  • $6,070
    Average annual income
  • 224
    View loans »
    Colombia Loans Fundraising
  • $12,881,350
    Funds lent in using Kiva
  • 1,915.0
    Colombia Pesos (COP) = $1 USD

Success!! The loan was 100% repaid

A loan of $800 helped Elena Mercedes to buy fabric, threads, buttons and accessories.
100% repaid
Repayment Term
13 months (Additional Information)
Repayment Schedule
Monthly
Pre-Disbursed:
Dec 22, 2010
Listed
Jan 3, 2011
Currency Exchange Loss:
Covered
Ended:
Dec 15, 2011