A loan of $3,400 helped a member to buy school uniforms: pants, shirts, blouses, underpants, sweaters.

Esfuerzo Del Bicentenario Group's story

Jessica is a member of the "Esfuerzo del Bicentenario” community bank which has 18 entrepreneurial members who work as door-to-door salespeople, selling a range of different products. They all live in the city of Curicó.

Jessica, who in the photo is in the back row, on the right, wearing a black top, sells new clothes: t-shirts, pants and underwear. She has been running her business from her home for 6 years. Her regular customers are her neighbors and acquaintances.

Jessica travels to Santiago to buy her merchandise which is mainly winter jackets, summer t-shirts, dresses and 'trajes de huaso' (traditional outfits) to sell during the 'Fiestas Patrias' period (Chilean independence day celebrations). She also buys school pants, shirts and blouses to sell during the back-to-school period in March. Jessica works on her own in this business but she receives help from her husband when he has finished his work each day. He works as an inter-city bus driver.

Jessica will use this loan to buy clothes for the back-to-school season, specifically pants, shirts, blouses, underpants, gaiters and sweaters.

Jessica's dream is to own an established store in the center of Curicó. She is very grateful to Fondo Esperanza. She very much enjoys taking part in her community bank's meetings because of the unity and trust that exists between all the members of her group. Jessica is also her group's representative. The loans that Jessica receives through Fondo Esperanza have been a great support to her in her business since they have enabled her to invest more money and increase her income.

Curicó is located in El Maule region, in the center of the country. It has a Mediterranean-type climate and is considered one of the nicest in the country. The city is known for its wine production and the natural beauty of its surrounding area. In spite of the fact that the workforce has increased in this area, it continues to be, according to the last census, one of the poorest in the country.

In this group: Jessica, Alicia, Marisol, Gloria, Norma, Romina, Sebastián, Sonia, Ines, Helia, María, Magaly, Carmen, Silvia, Irma, Mónica, Filomena, Teresa

Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Linda Oxnard

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