La Gran Amistad (Cuenca) Group's story

The little “La Gran Amistad” (Great Friendship) Bank is comprised of eleven original members and two added members who came together to seek economic improvement and to get ahead with their families. The bank is located in Cumbe parish, south of Cuenca canton. (To the north is Tarqui parish; to the south are the parishes of Jima in Sigsig canton and the edge of Giron canton; to the east are the parishes of Quingeo and San Jose de Raranga in Sigsig canton, and to the west is the parish of Victoria del Portete.) The region's female population is mainly engaged in agriculture and this is one of the largest producers of corn, potatoes, and beans. Lately, the cultivation of flowers is making inroads.

Mrs. Julia is married and has four children who are 16, 14, 11 and 7 years old. Her first two children are studying in a school in the city of Cuenca, and the last two are students at a local school. Her husband sells handbags and wallets that he produces in his own workshop. Thanks to their marriage, they have successfully built their own home. Julia has worked with her husband in his small workshop in the production of handbags and purses for 10 years. But she has also been a cattle dealer for 15 years, since her parents were engaged in this activity. And she sells milk from her cows to neighbors in the community.

Julia has worked for five years with loans from the foundation and that made construction of her house possible. With this new credit she will buy fabrics, zippers, thread, buckles and other supplies to make portfolios and bags. Her goal is to open a store in her home.

Maria Cecilia has been a member of the bank for 11 years. She is 45 years old, married, and the mother of 8 children, 5 of whom are married and 3 single. They all live in their own homes, thanks to her effort with her husband. The last 2 children are still in school but they help with work at home and provide for expenses. They help their father who also works as driver of an inter-provincial bus. Maria Cecilia has been selling pork for 20 years in her own stall in the Open Market on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 6 am to 6 pm. With her new loan, she will buy more pigs for slaughtering and market the meat. Her big dream is to see her children happy and every day forging ahead.

In this group: Sara Ines, Carlos Vinicio, Nelly Cecilia, Julia Oliva, Maria Cecilia, Digna Amelia, Virginia Orlanda, Rosa Amelia, Rosa Blanca, Rufino Ernesto, Faviola Dorix, Mercy Cecilia, Maria Dolores

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Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Harold Dana Sims, PhD

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