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Belen Cerro De Oro (Group 3)
In this Group: Gregoria, Maria, Clara, Dolores, Nicolasa, Marta, Marta*
* not pictured

Stirring up dust and old leaves, the wind blows through a small playground, where the 28 women of the Belen communal bank gather beneath the shade of the avocado tree. They know this place well, having met here monthly for the past seven years. The breeze offers relief from the scorching sun, and the women adjust themselves according to the patches of shade lent by the familiar tree.

The women of Belen are gentle but strong, their weathered faces wearing smiles of hope and determination. They have struggled immensely to arrive where they are today and every loan they receive offers another step out of poverty. Most of the women are weavers, having learnt the art as small children, and growing up to work in weaving factories, earning barely enough to survive. Now, after seven years with Friendship Bridge, every single woman has her own business, earning a fair income that provides for her family. Some of the women even employ as many as five other women.

Of the 28 women, seven are asking for a loan of 20,000 quetzales ($2,625), ranging from $300 to $400 per person. Six of the women will invest their money in their weaving businesses, purchasing colorful thread for beautiful huipiles (traditional woven blouses, like the ones in the photo), skirts, scarves, and blankets. They purchase weaving materials in the nearby town of Santiago de Atitlán. A couple of the women will also use part of their loans to pay their employees. One woman runs a business buying and selling corn and beans. Every two days she goes into town (about a 30 minute ride) and purchases corn and beans in bulk. She then brings it back to her town of Cerro de Oro and sells it to the locals. She will use her loan to purchase larger quantities of these products.

The women of Belen give thanks to Friendship Bridge for how far they’ve come, and they are eager to start another loan cycle to see what they can achieve. Six of the seven women have children (one woman is sadly unable to bear children, to her disappointment). They dream that their children will attend school, learn to read and write, and gain the tools necessary to end their families' bitter cycle of poverty forever.

Additional Information

About Friendship Bridge

This loan is administered by Friendship Bridge (FB), a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization that empowers thousands of impoverished Guatemalan women through its Microcredit Plus program. The program combines small loans averaging US$350 for four-to-twelve month loan terms with non-formal, participatory education.

As FB clients, women start, expand, or diversify their businesses and learn practical lessons on topics including business, health, and self-esteem. FB’s clients borrow as a group, forming Trust Banks (groups of 7-25 women who serve as co-guarantors of the loan and act as a self-regulating support network).

This is a Group Loan

In a group loan, each member of the group receives an individual loan but is part of a larger group of individuals. The group is there to provide support to the members and to provide a system of peer pressure, but groups may or may not be formally bound by a group guarantee. In cases where there is a group guarantee, members of the group are responsible for paying back the loans of their fellow group members in the case of delinquency or default.

Kiva's Field Partners typically feature one borrower from a group. The loan description, sector, and other attributes for a group loan profile are determined by the featured borrower's loan. The other members of the group are not required to use their loans for the same purpose.

About Guatemala

  • $5,300
    Average annual income
  • 122
    View loans »
    Guatemala Loans Fundraising
  • $10,803,625
    Funds lent in using Kiva
  • 7.6
    Guatemala Quetzales (GTQ) = $1 USD

Success!! The loan was 100% repaid

A portion of Belen Cerro De Oro (Group 3)'s $2,625 loan helped a member to purchase weaving thread, as well as corn and beans in bulk.
100% repaid
Repayment Term
15 months (Additional Information)
Repayment Schedule
Mar 14, 2008
Feb 28, 2008
Currency Exchange Loss:
May 22, 2009