A loan of $4,925 helped a member to buy snacks, beverages and clothes.

Despertar Group's story

This communal bank is called “Despertar” (To Awaken) and is composed of 18 entrepreneurs who are in a variety of businesses such as: underwear sales, honey and vegetable sales, marmalade making and selling, drape and curtain making, metallic structure manufacturing. All are from the city of Talca.

Erika, who in the photo appears seated in the first row on the first spot from left to right and is wearing a white jacket with a lilac kerchief around her neck, sells used clothes at home all day and on weekends at a farmers market. Her customers are recurring so she knows them and gives them easy payment terms. She buys her merchandise, specifically bundles of clothes, every three months in the city of Santiago.

In the next few months, Erika will start a new business selling snacks, beverages and sandwiches. To do so, she’s awaiting delivery of a sales kiosk that she’ll set up outside a school. She will, therefore, invest the loan money in merchandise to stock her new business. If it doesn’t work out for her though, she’ll buy more bundles of clothes to stock her original business.

Her goals are to finally be able to make the new business a reality and to provide work for her daughter-in-law while Erika will be able to split her time among both businesses. Besides, she’d like her clothing sales business to expand and to build a shed in her yard to set it up as a clothing store with dressing rooms and display cases included.

Erika lives with her husband, her 18-year-old daughter and 9-year-old granddaughter. Her dream on a personal level is to have an independent business that will allow her to have a better quality of life for her family.

She is very grateful to Fondo Esperanza. She likes taking part in the meetings very much because she learns from the trainers. Besides, she’s managed to apply what she’s learned to her business; she now spreads out her expenses and is more organized.

Talca is part of the Maule region located in the center of our country. It is the region’s administrative, economic and cultural center being the most important city in Chile’s Central Valley. There is a curious reference to Talca in Chile, the phrase: “Talca, Paris and London.” Among the myths relating to it, some say it derives from what an Englishman once said: “Talca parece Londres,” because of the abundant fog that frequently covers the city in winter like in the capital of the United Kingdom.

In this group: Erika, María, Marla, Ricardo, Elsa, María, Eduardo, Ruth, María, Roxana, Patricio, Claudio, Ricardo, Hortensia, Rosa, Silvana, Alejandro, Daniela

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Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Polliz

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