A loan of $4,475 helped a member buy wood veneers, solvents, dyes, cola, glass, mirrors, hinges and wheels; it will also help her pay for the manual labor to help make her furniture.

Millaray Group's story

This cooperative bank is called “Millaray” and is comprised of 23 entrepreneurs who dedicate themselves to the areas of furniture making, sales of curtains, purses and food. They all belong to the Cerro Navia community in the city of Santiago. Noemí, who appears at the back of the group in the photo, uses glasses and has short hair. She has dedicated herself to making furniture for the past 1 year and 8 months, approximately. Her customers are primarily established shops. Some of them order furniture upon request.

She buys her merchandise on a weekly basis, as she sells very quickly. For this reason, she needs to supply herself with materials and furniture. One of her children accompanies her to buy varnish, screws and veneer.

Currently, Noemí’s business is the means of financial support for the family. Since her husband passed away, she has needed to be in charge of these tasks.

With the loan, she will buy sheets of veneer, solvent, dye, cola, glass, mirrors, hinges and wheels. In addition, she must pay for the manual labor in order to make the furniture. Her goal is to buy a truck to transfer her furniture to the points of sale. Currently, she uses her van and her son is who drives the vehicle. However, it is very small for all her merchandise as Noemí plans to expand her business to other regions of the country.

Noemí shared her knowledge in this arena with her sister-in-law, and things have also gone well for her.

She lives with her two children, who are 45 and 42 years old. They both help her in the business, which has been a great assistance. Noemí is very happy and thankful for the help provided by Fondo Esperanza; the other members are also grateful as it has allowed them to invest in their businesses. The interpersonal relationships within the group are very good, as they all support each other and collaborate together. With respect to the training, they have been able to incorporate what they’ve learned into their businesses.

Cerro Navia is a community on the western side of the metropolitan region (where Santiago, the capital of Chile, is located). It is characterized by high levels of poverty, being densely populated, having a lack of recreational spaces, and its shortage of job opportunities. The area’s economic growth has circled back to micro-enterprises offering basic products (food, clothing, shoes, liquors, etc.).

In this group: Noemí, Sandra, Karín, Erica, Melita, Dominga, Rosa, Elga, Jacqueline, Sofia, María, Jacqueline, María, María, Angelica, Bernarda, Ximena, Katherine, Octavio, Hilda, Ana, Jocelyn, Paulina

Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer

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