A loan of $550 helped to purchase fertilizer for her land, chickens to raise, plastic tables and chairs, and a stove for her food preparation business.

Ilda Alejandrina's story

The “Campesinas de Ruizho” cooperative bank is located in the Ruizho sector, in the San Bartola de Sigsig community, an hour from the city of Cuenca. The primary crops of the region are: corn, beans, barley, wheat, peas and potatoes. In the lower areas, sugar cane and a variety of fruit trees are grown. The district is bordered on the northern and southern sides by silver and iron mines, and the southern area also has lime. Agriculture is the primary industry, and many people also dedicate themselves to making straw hats. This cooperative bank is comprised of members that are very collaborative, organized, and timely. Carrying out farming endeavors is the fundamental basis for their companionship given that, whenever someone needs help, they group together to help out. They also work as a group when there are celebrations and festivals.

Ilda Alejandra Peñalosa U. is 45 years old, married, and has 5 children ages 28, 18, 15, 12 and 6. She is also responsible for 3 young nieces and nephews, all under the age of 10. She tells us that her younger sister, a single mother, left three years ago and never returned. Ilda took charge of caring for her children, and says that God gives her the strength and patience she needs to forge ahead. They are never lacking in food, given that the very land they live on provides sustenance.

Two of her three oldest children study at the school in San Bartola, and the other at the school in Ruizho. Thanks to her husband’s help, who has veterinary skills, they have been able to get ahead. He works in the areas surrounding Ruizho, particularly the towns that need veterinary help. Ilda lives in a house they own, but it is small and made of adobe and tile. In addition to tending to the home and raising her animals, she works selling food at the CREA and the Paradise Park, commercial areas of Cuenca, on Saturdays and Sundays. In the case of her work for CREA, she has to sleep in a small room she rents near the 27th of February Market because she starts work at 3 am and finishes at noon. On Sundays, she works from 6 am to 2 pm. She makes coffee, chocolates, empanadas, corn tortillas and other foods. The loan of $550 USD requested by Ilda will be used to invest in the purchase of fertilizer for her land, poultry to raise, and plastic tables and chairs for her business. Her goal is to continue to provide an education for her children and to build a stronger and bigger house for her family.

Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer

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