A loan of $3,425 helped a member to buy tomatoes, onion, broccoli, cauliflower, bananas, peaches, oranges, and other fruits and vegetables to stock her business. Also to buy meat, spices, sticks, to prepare her meals.

Las Lucecitas (Cuenca) Group's story

The Las Lucecitas Communal Bank is in Cuenca, the third-largest city in Ecuador, set apart under the national trust because of its architectural beauty, which attracts domestic and foreign tourists.

Maria Guadalupe is 54 years old. She got her divorce 22 years ago because her husband was a drinker and mistreated her and her children. She has four children, now 31, 29, 27, and 22 years of age. All of her children are married and living on their own, except for her third, a daughter who has a child. Maria shares her house and expenses with the daughter. She is very happy to have her own home, even if it is a little small, because she built it herself.

Maria sells fruit in a stall in the Cuenca open market. She has been doing this since she was 11 years old. She has had her own stand only for the last 18 years. She tells us that they had to put up a fight to get a stand, since they didn’t want to turn over these stands to allow her to work without having to run around the entire market.

She is now in her third cycle, having been invited by her sister to join this group of visionary, hard-working women. With previous loans she has increased stock for her business. She plans to use this new loan to buy produce, such as tomatoes, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, bananas, peaches, oranges, etc., to supply her business.

Maria Guadalupe’s goal is to make improvements to her house.

Karina T. is also a member of the Las Lucecitas communal bank. She is 19 years old and lives in the beautiful Totoracocha section with her husband. They are currently expecting a child, and she is in her sixth month. They do not yet have their own home, so live with her mother-in-law.

Her husband works for a yogurt producer, and she sells food outside her home. She has been engaged in this business for a year now, thanks to her mother, who taught her the secrets of cooking. She now has regular customers, and begins work at 3 p.m., working until 11 p.m., at which time she stops to rest, so as to start the next day with renewed energy.

Karina belongs to the communal bank thanks to a friend who invited her to join this select group of women who are successfully raising their families. With the loan requested she will buy rice, meat, sticks, and seasoning to prepare her skewers and stews for her demanding customers. Her greatest dream is to have her own home, which she hopes to make a reality very soon.

In this group: Maria Dolores, Karina Andrea, Magali Iliana, Maria Cristina, Maria Natividad, Cindy Gissela, Maria Guadalupe, Rosa Clotilde*, Elizabeth Katherine
*not pictured

Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Mary Jane Wilkie

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