A loan of $2,100 helped a member to increase their businesses by buying a refrigerator; assorted clothing for women, men, and children; vegetables, grains, fruits, etc.; offering a more varied stock for their customers.

Mujeres De Combate (Cuenca) Group's story

The communal bank "Mujeres de Combate" is formed by 7 hard-working women who are sure of what they want in life. They live in the Huizhil neighborhood, in the Baños parish, about 20 minutes outside of the city of Cuenca. It is one of the many beautiful areas in the city, with lush vegetation and fertile land for cultivating. The people are kind and warm, like our members who give us their testimonies.

Sra. Olga, a member of the "Mujeres de Combate," lives in Huizhil. She is 37 years old, and married with 5 children, who are 18, 14, 13, 11, and 9 years old. All of her children are students. Her oldest son entered the State University of Cuenca this year. Her daughter is in the Garaicoa school, and her other three children are in their community school.

Rosa Olga's husband works in construction, and they support each other in good times and in bad. Olga has an ice cream business, and has been working since she was 14 years old. She began to sell for other people until she could have her own ice cream stand.

She tells us that it is going well because she can sell int he snack bar in her community school. She also sells to stores. In addition, she has another business in her home, taking care of some animals.

Her loan will be used to buy a refrigerator because of the demand for her ice cream, and because she needs it to grow her business.

Rosa Olga's dream is to see all her children finish higher education and become professionals.

Sra.María Gregoria is an active member of the communal bank. She lives in the Paraíso neighborhood, in the parish of Baños. She is 54 years old, married, and has five children, who are 38, 35,33,30, and 28 years old. All her chilren are married and live independently with their families. She lives in her own home, which is the result of her effort and work in her youth. Her husband is her best friend, and he helps her with her business.

Gregoria sells clothing. She has her own stand in the commercial center of Cuenca. She has been working for many years in that place. She works from 9 am to 6:30 pm.

She worked with the Espoir Foundation for four years. She left for a short time, but has come back again for the benefits she can receive, and for the ease of payments they provide.

The loan she requested is to increase her business, buying more merchandise for women, men, and children, with a greater variety. Her dream is to not have any debts.

Sra. María de Lourdes Minchalo lives in Huizhil, and joined the members of this communal bank. She is 47 years old, and has never been married. She says that it is better to be alone than in bad company. She lives with her mother, who is 74 years old, and they do not have their own home.

María sells soft and hard grains, like peas, beans, corn, etc. She also sells vegetables and fruits from her region and other cities. She has been doing this since she was 15, in the outskirts of the market in Cuenca, on Wednesdays, Saturday, and Sundays. She works from 6 am to 6 pm, but she tells us that she has not been able to have her own stand.

This is her first loan with the foundation, and she hopes to get more loans as she needs them. The loan is to buy vegetables, fruit, grains, and other products from the region and from other places, so she has a greater assortment to offer her customers. She will also buy some medication for her mother, who suffers some illnesses due to her age.

Her dream is to have her own home, and a car to go to other communities with her business.

In this group: Blanca, Lucia Olivia, Fanny Leonor, Rosa Olga, Virginia Lucrecia, Maria Gregoria, Maria Lourdes

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Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Rebecca Iverson

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