A loan of $2,600 helped a member to buy firewood, clay, white clay for making pitchers, pans and casserole dishes.

Virgen De Juquila Group's story

This community bank is called 'Virgen de Juquila' and is located in San Miguel Cohuecan neighborhood, in the State of Puebla, Mexico. It is made up of 7 hard-working women who know each other and are neighbors. They are Ernestina R. Ramírez, who will use her loan to buy clay and white clay to make pitchers that she sells unfired; Petra Constantina V. M., who will buy clay to make pitchers; Luisa S. González, who will buy firewood, clay and white clay for making pots and casserole dishes; Maura A. V., who will buy clay to make rustic pitchers; Diana Martínez López, who will buy medicines, anti-inflamatories, syrups and analgesics to stock her pharmacy; Manuela S. S., who will buy clay and firewood to make pedestals and Gabina R. A., who will buy clay and white clay to make casserole dishes.

Luisa S. González is a member of the group. She is 36 years old and studied up to the 6th year of elementary school, obtaining her leaver's certificate. She is single and lives with her mom and brother. They work as potters, making pitchers, casserole dishes and pots. Luisa is requesting her loan to buy firewood, clay and white clay to stock her business with supplies so that she has the material she needs to make her pitchers, casserole dishes and pots. She started in her business 28 years ago, watching how her mom cut the clay, and she learned all on her own. It is a family business and all her family work in it. It is located in her home and is very important because she supports herself with it.

Luisa enjoys being a potter, making casserole dishes and painting them. She is proud because she works, bakes her products and everything comes out beautifully. It has also helped her to take a stewardship role in her community. There are 8 days of fiesta each year when they feed everybody and provide the church with floral arrangements and candles. Luisa's customers are from Jaloxtoc, Ahuatlan and Tepetlixpa. Her business is popular because of the good work that she does and the finishing touches that she makes to the pitchers, casserole dishes and pots. The challenge that she faces in her business is the climate. When it rains, the clay doesn't dry and she can't work. Her business also faces competition because the whole village makes pottery items. Luisa re-invests the profits that she makes back into her business, uses some to survive on, some to eat and some to repay her loan. She is planning to stock her business with more material so that she can have some stored up. She plans to continue working together with her mom and brother who will also help her to repay the loan. This business has helped her family a lot. It has provided them with the food they need and helped them to live more comfortably.

The improvement that Luisa would like to make to her home is to plaster it. Her plans and hopes for the future are to continue working and for everyone to enjoy good health. She is very happy to be receiving this loan because she will have money to buy the material she needs.

San Bartolo Cohuecan is a quiet village. From it you can see the Popocatapetl and Iztaccihuatl volcanoes. In the month of December, the Popocatapetl volcano turns red and they sow sorghum, corn, peanuts and onions. Starting August 24th, they celebrate an 8-day-long fiesta dedicated to the patron saint San Bartolo (Saint Bartholomew). They provide everybody in the village, and visitors, with food, there is music, bullfighting, fireworks, engagements and Aztec dances.

The members of this group would like to say to Kiva and Fundación Realidad, "Many thanks for these loans that you give us. We hope that you will lend to us at lower interest rates because the situation is difficult and let's hope the interest rates don't go up so that we have more money for our materials".

In this group: Ernestina , Petra Constantina, Luisa, Maura, Diana , Manuela, Gabina

Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Linda Oxnard

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