A loan of $3,025 helped a member to buy clothes for the winter season.

Los Vecinos Del Valle Group's story

Alicia is a member of the "Los Vecinos del Valle" (Neighbors of the Valley) community bank which is made up of 20 entrepreneurs who have different businesses such as a bakery, a beauty salon and a business selling clothes and lingerie. They live in the city of Casablanca.

Alicia is in the front row of this photo, on the left, wearing a black top. She is in the craft business. She makes candles, decoupage (a decorative paint effect used on wood and glass), mosaics (geometric, decorative, compositions made with pieces of pottery) and knitted items. She also sells new clothes

Alicia started out in the craft trade 10 years ago which means that her frequent customers are long-standing and responsible. She sells her crafts and clothes door to door. Alicia buys her merchandise in the city of Santiago since the prices there are better for her business.

Alicia lives with her husband and her 10 year-old grandson who she has cared for since he was born because her daughter went off to work in another city and didn't take responsibility for him as his mother. For this reason, Alicia has had to raise and educate her grandson. This is her motivation to continue in her business: she would like to provide her grandson with a better quality of life and an education. She will use her loan to buy clothes for the winter season.

Alicia's dream is to own a car in order to distribute her merchandise to more rural areas. Right now, she transports her products on a bicycle. However, during the winter, this task becomes difficult because of the cold and rain in the city. With a car, she would be able to increase her customer base and, consequently, her profits.

Alicia is very grateful and happy to be working with Fondo Esperanza. She really enjoys the group meetings because the other entrepreneurs are all responsible. Alicia is the community bank's representative. As regards the loans that she receives through Fondo Esperanza, they have been a great support for her business since they have enabled her to invest and increase her income.

Casablanca is a town which is located in Valparaíso province, in the region of the same name. It has a Mediterranean climate, with summers of prolonged drought and short, heavy, winter rains. The name 'Casablanca' (literally: 'white house') dates from the 16th Century when there was a 'wall with whitish walls' located on a hillside, at the side of one of the oldest roads in the area called 'Camino Real de Carretas'.

Casablanca's economy is currently based on the service industry, agriculture, transport, agroindustry, tourism and commerce.

In this group: Alicia, Elsa, Nayade, Margarita, María , Jenny , Marcela, Cristián , Hortencia, Fresia, Soledad, Jeannette, Marta , Norma , María , Luis , Janette, Sandra , Claudia, Karina

Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Linda Oxnard

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