Lourdes’s Dream: To show the world a woman’s worth

Lourdes was only 18 when she says her world came crashing down around her. She had been working as a maid from the age of 14, contributing what little money she earned to her struggling mother and siblings.

Then she found out she was pregnant.

She was alone, cast aside by her family and the father of her child.

“I lost everything…my life totally changed with the pregnancy,” she says.

When her son, Victor, was born, Lourdes pieced together work, trying to keep their little family of 2 afloat.

“We supported ourselves with the little we had,” Lourdes says. “My son never got to use diapers because I didn’t even have enough to buy them.”

She decided to start her own business selling empanadas and snacks. That’s when she took out her first business loan of just over $60 U.S.

Lourdes went into business for herself, making and selling snacks.

She set strict rules for herself to invest in her business and build savings.

Lourdes says her mantra at the time was, “I’m going to show his father that I’m worth more as a woman, that I don’t need a man at my side…And I’m going to prove it to my family as well who criticized me so much.”

But the business was not without tough challenges. Lourdes’ makeshift shop was not very secure and she was robbed 4 times in 2 months. She worked long hours and had to give up any social life.

Despite the struggles, she grew the business and continued to take and repay bigger and bigger loans, eventually receiving a $975 loan funded on Kiva by 33 lenders located all over the world, from Norway to Australia.

Lourdes used that money to buy more stock and a refrigerator, building the business to the point that she was able to move into a new, bigger shop. This one had a secure gate to prevent robberies and an attached home for her family.

Left: Lourdes and her son in front of her old makeshift shop that was robbed 4 times. Right: Lourdes closes the secure gate on her new, larger shop. Attached is a home for her family.

“Everything that I am now, I am grateful for it,” Lourdes says. “I’m grateful to Kiva lenders, I know that they did their part to achieve my dream… I’m grateful from the bottom of my heart.”

She also has a message for other single moms in the world.

“Many people say that this is the worst that can happen to you. That it brands women,” Lourdes says. “But that isn’t true. To be a single mother gives you more strength, you want to fight even harder.”

About the author

Talea Miller

Talea is excited to combine her love for powerful storytelling and her digital strategy experience. She comes to Kiva from the Kaiser Family Foundation, where she managed digital strategy for the foundation's consumer-focused PSA campaigns. Prior to that she was a reporter and producer at the PBS NewsHour for five years. At the NewsHour she had the opportunity to travel extensively in the developing world as part of the program's global health unit, covering a wide range of stories including the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, doctor shortages in Tanzania and the mistreatment of the mentally ill in Indonesia. In addition to being a news junkie, Talea enjoys photography, hiking and attempting to paint. She graduated from Northwestern University with a B.S. in Journalism and is originally from Maryland. So she also knows a lot about horses.