Carmen Esther's story

In a small neighborhood of Soledad, called Bella Murilo, measuring just 4 manzanas, lives Carmen S., a woman merchant who sells varied products, especially cosmetics. She is married with 2 children. Carmen began as a manufacturing employee and worked for many years but had to resign, due to her child's long-term health problems which impeded her from complying with work hours.

Since that time, she has looked for opportunities to work independently, for a way to generate income that will permit her to care for her son. This is how she came to make dresses for a long time, which wore her out. For this reason, and knowing how to handle customers, she decided to become a merchant. For the last 7 years she has sold products, using specialized guides to products, in order to continue to add to the family income, in union with her husband. He is also a merchant, selling disposable products and operating a pharmacy.

Her small beginning capital was fortified from the start by the Mario Santo Domingo Foundation, with more than 6 loans, each gradually increasing as the last was paid off. She believed that each loan should be administered cautiously, that is, directing them towards investing in merchandise to reproduce her working capital, which she has been doing all this time. She is very satisfied with the loans she has received; her monthly payments have been negotiated by the assessor during the first visit at payable amounts and desirable periods that would benefit her family.

Presently, she is applying for a loan of $2,000,000 (Colombian pesos) to be used to obtain discounts in paying off previous invoices early, and to buy merchandise requested by her customers. Her principle goals are related to changing neighborhoods; buying a house in a more central zone where she will be close to her principle customers, who are employees and independent workers. She is very selective in granting small amounts of credit, with an initial quota set when each begins as a customer.

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Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Harold Dana Sims, PhD

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