A loan of $2,750 helped a member to buy leather in a variety of colours, fasteners, and glue.

Creciendo Juntos Group's story

The Creciendo Juntos (Growing Together) Community Bank is comprised of 18 members who work in different jobs such as leather crafts, homemade jams, food preparation, making drapes, and making clothing at home. All of the members live in the town of Valparaíso.

Sergio (seated first on the right in the photo, wearing a black hat and jacket, and making the peace sign) has made crafts out of leather for 40 years. He makes clothing and bags, specifically jackets, pants, backpacks, pouches, wallets etc. He fixed up a room in his house as a workshop and has an industrial sewing machine there.

Sergio only makes items to order and sells them privately. His son also helps with advertising and is responsible for some jobs. He says that he has lots of material but sometimes lacks the time to do the work. He works every day of the week but it varies somewhat. Sergio sends his products to Santiago by bus where they are picked up by the customer. The summer is a good time of year for selling his products as many tourists come to the area then.

With the loan Sergio plans to buy leather in a variety of colours, fasteners, and glue. His goal is to buy a sewing machine that make more defined stitches and give a better finish. He also wishes to expand the business and teach more people how to do the work. This will generate more income for him. He says that it wouldn’t suit him to have a stall or store as he only wishes to make the products, not sell them, as it would take up too much time.

Sergio’s wife makes jam in their home. Their dream is to buy a piece of land where they can build a house. To do this, they would need to sell their current home and get some money to invest in the project.

Sergio is very happy and grateful for the loan obtained through Fondo Esperanza. As a member of the group he has recently got to know the other members and learn about their businesses.

Valparaíso is located 120 km northeast of Santiago. It is the regional capital and also home to the national legislature. The city is also the main port for the country and has beautiful, picturesque countryside where, for example, the house of Nobel prize the poet Pablo Neruda’s house is located.

In this group: Sergio, María, Monica, Julio, María, María, Jaime, Pedro, Jorge, Margarita, Sandra, Ines, María, Jose, Nidia, Nicole, Gloria, Roxana

Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Jane A

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