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San Cristobal Group
In this Group: Maria Leonarda, Maria Elsa, Ana Elsa, Maria Lucia, Christina, Irma Julieta, Clemencia, Valentina Rogelia, Carlota, Ana Florencia, Isabel, Olga Guadalupe, Maria Estela, Irma Cristina*, Fulgencia*
* not pictured

The women of the ‘San Cristobal’ village bank are entering their second loan cycle with Friendship Bridge and are eagerly awaiting the approval of their newly requested loans. The fifteen women know each other well, living as neighbors in a rural village just outside of Chimaltenango. Now, in addition to being neighbors, they are learning to become confidants and support each other in business, sharing ideas for success, and helping one another overcome obstacles. After the success of their first loan, other women took note and have joined the group. The veteran members will teach them about solidarity and responsibility within the group. They are confident of their ability to repay, and excited to take on this new challenge.

All fifteen women are weavers, crafting beautiful "huipiles," the traditional Mayan blouse, whose intricate designs reveal a woman’s hometown, marital status, or beliefs. A single huipil C. take up to three months to produce, working all day. After an initial investment of about $30-$50, it C. be sold for up to $200. The women also save money by weaving for themselves, rather than buying from others.

They are asking for a loan of 24,000 quetzales, about $3150 USD, with which they will purchase thread in bulk to weave the huipiles, as well as skirts and belts and other crafts. Some of the women sell their weaving in markets in the nearby town of Chimaltenango, and most are well known in their own village and receive orders from friends and neighbors. Buying in bulk drastically lowers the cost of thread, and it also cuts back on the trips that must be made to the market to buy materials, saving on time and travel expenses.

The women are excited about their loan and the possibility of better providing for their families. They dream of being able to support their children in school past 6th grade, opening up opportunities for them that will help stop the cycle of poverty within their families.

(The two women who are not pictured had come to the meeting but left to take care of their children before the photo was taken.)

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
  • 75
    View loans »
    Guatemala Loans Fundraising
  • $9,872,275
    Funds lent in using Kiva
  • 7.6
    Guatemala Quetzales (GTQ) = $1 USD

Success!! The loan was 100% repaid

A portion of San Cristobal Group's $3,150 loan helped a member to purchase thread for weaving.
100% repaid
Repayment Term
15 months (Additional Information)
Repayment Schedule
Apr 4, 2008
Mar 21, 2008
Currency Exchange Loss:
Jun 19, 2009