Total loan: $4,600

Shalom Group

Santa Cruz del Quiche, El Quiche, Quiché Department, Guatemala / Food

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A loan helped to purchase corn, vegetables, lemons and fruit for her menus, as well as cups, plates and plastic glasses for her scack business.

Shalom Group's story

Quiché is known as a rich agricultural area where farmers also raise livestock. The population has a strong work ethic with women playing an important traditional role in their families. The land is bordered by heavily wooded forests. Women in this area wear traditional outfits or “traje”. The area is predominanty of Mayan descent with the K’iche people being the largest ethnic majority. The department is named after them. Seven dedicated businesswomen have formed the Friendship Bridge Trust Bank's Shalom Group, meaning peace. The majority of them are involved in commercial ventures selling cosmetics, clothing and snacks. Another sells shoes through a catalog. María is the 57-year-old president of the Trust Bank group. She has seven children. She has a winning positive attitude and leadership skills. She sells drinks inside the local market as well as snacks. She is requesting a loan to purchase corn, vegetables, lemons and fruit for her menus, as well as cups, plates and plastic glasses. Her ultimate goal is to save enough of her earnings to build a house. All of her children are in various levels of schooling and she wants to have enough available funds for their continued education. The Microcredit Plus Program of Friendship Bridge, combining loans and education, is most important for these women. At their monthly meetings, they learn about many topics from a Friendship Bridge facilitator that are very useful in their lives. Some of the subjects covered include health, hygiene and nutrition, as well as empowerment and self-esteem. The ladies also gather important business management tools like budgeting, accounting and customer service. Gratitude goes to Kiva investors for funding loans for these women so that they can be agents of change in their families and communities.