Three Colombians I'll Never Forget !
After spending 3 great months with Interactuar in Medellin, I never would have imagined I´d have the privilege to meet these three Colombian Kiva borrowers with such unique businesses. Not only are Interactuar´s mission, microfinance products and business development services outstanding, they serve some of Colombia´s hardestworking and kind people working to provide for their families...and the families of their neighbors. Allow me to introduce you to three Colombians I´ll never forget.
JORGE + Family!
I was able meet Jorge, his mother and six brothers who work daily trying to grow their artesan arepa business. The picture above only shows his mother and four brothers as they all were busy doing their various duties from production to delivery to small shops in the neighborhood. Arepas are a staple in the Colombian diet and are made from ground up maize. However, many arepas are now mass produced and contain additives, preservatives and are baked in industrial ovens.
Jorge and his family decided to pursue their dream of growing an arepa business while maintaing the artesan recipe and production process. They only use a scalding hot wood fired oven and make their maize flour from fresh maize every day! Their dedication to fresh ingredients and hardwork definitly explains why their arepas were the most delicious ones I have tasted in Colombia. Even my Colombian friends agreed they were some of the best they´ve had!
The Kiva loan Jorge got helped him purchase more maize and airing racks where the arepas are placed to cool off before packaging them. As they dream of growing and building a safer, cooler, and cleaner arepa factory their current income only allows them to continue living off of what they make. Thanks to Kiva lenders the injection of working capital enabled them to take one step closer to their dream.
Rosalba´s passion and love for the children in her low-income neighborhood has motivated her through the 15 years she has been running her daycare. Despite a humble income, family hardships and long hours, Rosalba emanated a passion and joy when talking about her daycare. She said, "Esto lo ago por amor, no dinero...Pudiera nada mas preocuparme por dinero, pero a mi me interesa el bienestar de los niños." ("I do this out of love, not for money...I could worry for money, but I´m interested in the wellbeing of these children.")
As she discussed with us the strict government regulations she has to adhere to and long hours required to give the best care to children living in the worst situations, she continued to smile and show us her home (green home pictured below) she uses as a daycare.
Her Kiva loan helped her to improve the conditions of the daycare and buy teaching materials. Since space is limited (living room is about 8´ X 12´) having an organized and well kept daycare is very important for the wellbeing of the children.
Her dream is to be able to have the daycare in a separate space so that the children have more space. Getting to meet Rosalba, hear her story and see her daycare was a reminder of how Kiva impacts not only borrower´s businesses and lives, but it can impact the lives of those around them.
Play a part in reducing poverty and transforming Colombian dreams into reality! Give a Kiva loan to a Colombian entrepreneur today!