Chuacante I Group
The women from the mujeres Chuacante group live in a popular tourist destination, San Pedro La Laguna, Lake Atitlan. They enjoy their community and are proud to have lived in it since childhood. Amongst the highlights of living in their town is the fact that they all own land there and enjoy a healthy church life and festive season, such as the town fair coming up in early June. The microcredit group that they are part of has brought them closer to each other through “unity and love amongst us,” as Norma G. described her experience.
When at home or in the workplace, these women, who are mostly mothers, dedicate their lives to weaving. Some are bead-workers and others are dedicated to selling fruit and vegetables. The weavers make traditional clothing such as colorful belts, aprons and tops (guipiles) and the bead-workers make bead belts and bracelets. They sell this merchandise to intermediaries who take it all over the region and re-sell it to stores, tourists and shoppers.
Norma G. began her business a few years ago and took out very small loans at high interest. Recently, she has switched over to loans of virtually no interest, which are generously provided online. She can now confidently take out large loans (and growing) of 340 USD and with it help pay the wages of her 6 employees who work with her to produce many more products than before, and sell them for cheaper, while still making a profit.
When asked about how their business was going, they complained about the rainy season and the drop in sales during this time of the year. They said that this lull in sales didn’t mean less work, but a whole other load to be taken care of. The credit that they receive from microlenders goes towards more cloth and string, which they can buy by bulk and get a cheaper deal. At the same time, they can invest in their business to produce better and more products. Secundina E. said that she “could see a difference” from the time she began to take out loans. She explained that she could now buy more, for less money, and realize larger profits.
The hard work, combined with the loans, allows them to successfully send their children to public school, and accomplish what Josefa B. described as one of her largest dreams: to create a successful business and make it grow to the point where loans are no longer needed, and financial self-sustainability of the family and business are reached and maintained.
About Friendship BridgeThis 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
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Success!! The loan was 100% repaid