A loan of $1,000 helped to buy 'tagua' and two lathes.

Erika Carolina's story

Every two weeks, the Virgen del Rosario community bank meets in Colorado, in Montecristi canton. This area is known for its rich pre-colonial culture and its handicrafts which are both nationally and internationally renowned. Most of the people work making buttons from 'tagua' (vegetable ivory), making handicrafts and engaging in general commercial activities.

Here we meet 25 year-old Erika who is single and lives in her parents' home. She has been a member of the community bank for three loan cycles and she likes it because of the help that she is receiving. Thanks to the loans, she has a way of earning a living.

Erika has a lathe (a machine for cutting 'tagua') which she uses to make buttons (but crudely). She delivers her products to salespeople in Manta who then export them abroad. She works from Monday to Saturday, from 8.30am to 3.00pm. She works six hours a day. She tells us that the work is hard but this is her way of starting to build something for her future. She buys her raw materials from a warehouse in her town which supplies this product.

Erika will use this loan to buy 'tagua' and two more lathes so that she can increase her production. Her dream is to own a large company that makes finished buttons.

Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Linda Oxnard

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