A loan of $2,800 helped a member to buy gas, potatoes, flour and a dough stretching machine.

Llauquen Group's story

This communal bank is called "Llauquen" and is comprised of 17 entrepreneurs who are active in traditional food making activities and clothing and perfume sales. All of them are from the city of Castro.

Nilda is the president of the communal bank and is the first one standing on the left. She makes and sells traditional food in southern Chile. Among her products are milcao, chuchoca, meat pies, home-made bread and curanto. She has been in this business for 14 years and runs it out of her home. She has a gas stove, firewood, serving trays, and metal pots. Her workday is flexible and the summer season is when her foods are in highet demand because of the local festivities and fairs. She buys ingredients at the supermarkets where prices are lower. With the loan she will buy gas, potatoes, flour and a dough stretching machine.

Her goals are to expand her business and build a stand where her customers can enjoy the food directly. Nilda makes lard out of pork that she butchers locally and mixes with other foodstuffs.

Nilda lives with her husband and her two children, ages 19 and 17, who help her market her food and attract customers. One of her dreams is to see her children finish their education so they can get a better job. She also wants to travel around the country and visit different locations.

She is very happy and grateful for the services she receives through the Fondo Esperanza, since this allows her to have the necessary capital to invest in her business. She also enjoys the cheerfulness and affection at the meetings at the communal bank, since the group is very united and supportive.

Castro is the capital of the island of Chiloé (the largest in South America), in the region of Los Lagos, in Chile's austral south area. Its natural landscape is almost totally preserved from human intervention. It also has a richly mythical, traditional culture. One of the great attractions are the houses called Palafitos which are built on wooden stilts out over the sea.

In this group: Nilda, Rebeca, María, Jose, Debora, Ninfa, Marcia, Karin, Tania, Cristina, Karla, Betzabe, María José, Mariana, Yanara, Doris, Manuel

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Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Sherry Bess

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