A loan of $2,400 helped a member for the purchase of clothing, sewing materials, and manicure products to support the members' individual businesses.


The Arab Women´s Bank Group's story

The Arab Women's Bank is made up of eight members who live in Pococí, Limón, located near the Carribbean coast of Costa Rica. These hardworking entrepreneurs are involved in various revenue-generating activities, including clothing sales, manicure/pedicure services, sewing/alteration services, and catalog sales. In general, this loan will be used by each individual member to make investments in her specific business activity. Vendors of catalog items will invest in merchandise such as clothing, DVDs, pots, pans, perfumes, and jewelry. Seamstresses will purchase fabric, thread, and needles in order to produce clothing for sale. Some members will use this loan to invest in nail polish and other tools necessary for providing manicure and pedicure services. The members of this group offer their products and services to clients in their immediate community as well as to people in neighboring communities.

The loan consultant who has been working with these women describes them as a tight-knit group with much experience in their individual businesses and the mutual goal of attaining a higher standard of living within their communities and families. The name of this group comes from the Bible. To the members of the group, Arab refers to growth and expansion, both of which are central values for this group.

Emma Q. Cevrato is a 35-year-old mother of four who lives with her family in Pococí. She is also the elected president of this group. Emma is involved in two types of business: sewing/alteration services and the sale of brand-name clothing. She says the secret to organizing her day in a productive manner is keeping to a schedule. She designates blocks of time to take care of domestic tasks and blocks of time to her business. When she is very busy, her children assist her by tending to the sales part of the business while their mother sews in her workshop. Emma's goals are to expand her business and grow her list of clients. Her dream is to own a business separate from her home. With respect to her family, the immediate goal is to establish economic stability. The main obstacle to her progress is a lack of working capital funds in order to invest in sewing materials such as thread, needles, and fabric, as well as clothing merchandise.

The members of the Arab Women´s Bank are neighbours and friends who have lived in the same rural community for the majority of their lives. They identify the main advantage of the group lending model as the ability of each member, without collateral or credit, to act as a guarantor for other members, which enables each member to receive a loan. The main disadvantage they identified was the possibility that if somebody defaults in the group, or has trouble repaying their loan, this implies a responsibility to act in support by the other members of the group.

In this group: Emma , Yendry, Shirley, María , Elizabeth, Kembly, Andrea, Rita



Loan details


Lenders and lending teams



Loan details