A loan of $1,750 helped a member buy new inventory for grocery store.

Virgen De Fátima Group's story

“Virgen D. Fátima” is a rural community bank in FINCA Peru’s Wari project, which provides credit with education services in the rural areas of Huancavelica. Huancavelica is considered one of the poorest regions of Peru and has many limitations, such as being a very mountainous area (altituD. ranges from 6,000 – 17,000 ft above sea level), the cold, the difficulty of growing crops and the lack of an adequate infrastructure of roads and communication systems.

BCR “Virgen D. Fátima” is located in the small community of La Merced in the province of Churcampa, at over 9,000 ft above sea level. Currently the bank has completed 2 loan cycles after just one year of existence. Currently there are 20 female borrowers.

The members of the bank, during their one year in FINCA Peru, besides having learned to be responsible and punctual, have learned to respect each other and to help another member of the group when they face some kind of difficulty. At each bi-weekly reunion a different member of the group prepares a small meal that she will sell for 1 sol (about 35 cents U.S!), and the profit she will add to her savings in the bank.

The group was able to save over 4,900 soles (about 1,600 US$) in the first 2 loan cycles and will continue to save in the future. For all members, the main use of the savings is for investing in their business or for the education of their children. Another dream they have for the use of their savings is to be able to make renovations to their houses, like constructing another floor or changing the roof to a more sustainable material.

Most members of the community bank run the same business: they have fields with corn, wheat and peas. And a little bit lower down at the Mantaro river basin, where it’s a little warmer, they grow fruits like oranges and mango. There is one special fruit they cultivate: the fruit of the tuna-cactus. As all of these product are seasonal, they also have mountain goats and minor animals like chickens and guinea-pigs. Most of the products they sell weekly at the local market of Churcampa or a little further away in Huanta. Two also run grocery stores in the community.

The loans range from 200 soles, 500 soles up to 600 soles and the total of the loans reach 5,100 soles among the 20 members. The amounts of 500 and 600 soles are exceptions.

Although many dedicate their time to the same business, every member has a different testimony, as is the case of Perpetua Murga A.. Perpetua was the woman that formed the bank in its first cycle and was elected the first president. With her 600 soles loan she will buy new supplies for her grocery store. And with her 450 soles of savings she will hire someone to make holes in the ground to put new tara and tuna-cactus plants

Marcelina M. V. will invest her 200 soles buying plants of the tuna-cactus and of tara. Both need time to grow before they get productive (tuna 1 year and tara 3 years). Meanwhile she will depend on her mountain-goats: the sells them for the meat, but also she makes cheese from goat-milk.

In this group: Vilma Maura, Elsa Delia, Perpetua, Octavia, Matilde, Candelaria, Livia, Anatolia, Edmunda, Marcelina, Hermelinda Zoraida, Delfina, Alicia, Victoria, Edith, Rosa Dometila, Teodosia, Guillerma, Tereza Fortunata, Teodosia

Loan details

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Loan details