A loan of $4,650 helped a member to buy charcoal, a 100kg sack of flour, yeast, oil, salt, potatoes and paper bags.

Fenix Group's story

This community bank is called “Fénix” (Phoenix). It is made up of 18 entrepreneurs who work in different businesses including: a bakery, a hairdressing salon, a food sales business and a dressmaking business. They all live in the city of Talca.

Sara is in the front row of the photo, second from the left, wearing a purple sweater and jeans. During the week, she sells charcoal from her home. On weekends, she makes and sells fast food, specifically 'sopaipillas' (a type of fried pastry or quick bread), cheese empanadas and fries. She works from 4.00pm to 3.00am as this is when her customers come to her business. She sets herself up with a grill on a corner near her home.

Sara has been working in this field for one year. She says that things have gone very well since she started her business. She buys the ingredients that she uses to prepare her food in wholesale supermarkets and from a farmers' market.

Sara will use her loan to buy charcoal, a 100kg bag of flour, yeast, oil, salt, potatoes and paper bags. Sara's dream is to own a car.

Sara lives with her husband and they are waiting to move into their own home which will be sometime in the coming year. Depending on this move, Sara plans to set up her business in her new home.

Sara is very happy and grateful for the loan from Fondo Esperanza as it has helped her to invest in her business and make more profits. The community bank that she belongs to is very united and Sara has been able to listen to the business experiences of other members. In addition, she is very motivated and participates actively in the meetings as she is the bank's secretary.

Talca is in Maule region which is located in the central area of the country. It is an administrative, financial and cultural center of the region as it is the most important city in the Chilean Central Valley. There is a curious expression in Chile "Talca, París y Londres' (Talca, Paris and London). Among the different suggestions about where the saying comes from, some say that it comes from something that an English person originally said "Talca parece Londres" (Talca is like London) owing to the abundant mist that frequently covers the city in winter, just like it does in the English capital.

In this group: Sara, Eliana, María, Isac, Andrea, Laura, Teresa, Ilia, Wilma, Karin, Liset, María, Katty, Veronica, Roxana, Magdalena, Marcela, Lucinia

Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Linda Oxnard

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