A loan of $1,750 helped a member to buy several packets of 'casabe' (cassava bread).

Las Reinas 1 Group's story

Josefina belongs to the 'Las Reinas 1' (The Queens 1) group which has five members. Each member works in their own business in the city of Santo Domingo. Some of these are established businesses located in the member's own home and / or business premises, whilst others are street vendors with no fixed sales location. They mainly sell clothes, shoes, accessories, cosmetics, food products and other miscellaneous products.

Josefina's family consists of herself, her two children and her mother. They live in a simple home which is built from wood. Josefina's biggest challenges have been educating her children and providing for their needs. She has also had to face a number of illnesses without having enough money or services to get ahead when faced with such difficulties.

Josefina's business is selling 'casabe' (cassava bread) which is produced with cassava and other seasonings. She has been in this business for around 2 years and started after taking her first loan with Esperanza Internacional. She tells us that she started out in her business because some of her neighbors were familiar with the micro-credit program and invited her to take part. Josefina has already had 4 loans from Esperanza Internacional and she feels very grateful because the loans have enabled her to make progress and invest in her business. She will invest this new loan in buying packets of cassava bread wholesale which she will then sell as a retailer.

Josefina's story is representative of the other members of her group and Esperanza's clients in general, both the Haitians (who have mostly emigrated to the Dominican Republic from Haiti, some of them recently) and the Dominicans who generally live in very poor communities. This area, like many poor areas in the Dominican Republic, lacks reliable drinking water and electricity. This group is located in a poor area of the city of Santo Domingo, in the north of the city.

In this group: Josefina, Margarita, Virgen, Arlette, Estela

Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Linda Oxnard

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