A loan of $1,125 helped to buy materials for school uniforms and accessories to sell at her shop and also women's accessories, cologne and perfume.

Marelis's story

Marelis is a 57 year old woman who lives with her husband and their three children, who range in age from 28 to 35. They live in the San Jacinto municipality in the Bolívar department. It is known for the variety of hammocks and handicrafts the population makes with a vertical loom as part of their cultural tradition.

Marelis learned to make clothes as her preferred activity when she was very young. When she was 17 years old she got practical experience with a neighbor’s help. Four years ago she took various courses with SENA (National Education Service) in order to perfect her art and start her own shop. Her business is located in her house, where she makes school uniforms. She has expanded this aspect of the business beyond making school uniforms. She also sells fabric and accessories to other dressmakers in the region. Additionally, she sells cosmetics by catalog.

She currently has enough machines to increase her sales, and that is exactly what she wants to do. During her high sales season, Marelis hires other people to work. She hopes to be able to sustain these jobs.

The business activity of making clothes developed in her workshop. It has facilitated getting her children ahead. It also generates the major part of the family income. With this and the support of her husband, they have managed to get their own home.

Marelis has worked with the Fundación Mario Santo Domingo for five years. She has received five loans from this organization. Her Kiva loan is her sixth, and she will use it to buy materials to make more school uniforms and accessories to sell at her small shop.

Her dream for later on is to have a house in the city of Cartagena. She wants this for her grandchildren when they enroll in the University. That way they will have a place to live. She also dreams of increasing her working capital in order to get new customers, which will in turn result in greater profitability than the current 27%. With her disciplined work and her persistence it will surely increase.

Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Ginny Kalish

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