A loan of $1,125 helped to buy shoes and sandals to sell.


Leonarda's story

Señora Leonarda is a hard-working and dedicated woman. She sells shoes and sandals every day in the city of Camaná, located in the south of Peru. This area is a vast and dry oasis in the Desierto de Sechura, which dominates the south-eastern coast of the country. Camaná has historically been an important tourist destination in Peru. However, the frequent and strong earthquakes and tsunamis in the past decade (an 8.4 in 2001 and an 8.0 in 2007) decimated the city, destroyed the tourist industry in Camaná, as well as jobs, livelihoods, and homes. The result of this unemployment has been the creation of an atmosphere ripe for microfinancing. Microfinancing gives people with small businesses and few resources business opportunities in the labour market. Leonarda's husband is a master builder, and this brings in a good income. They use this money to invest in the small business, as well as in the care and education of their little children. The youngest is barely two years old, and the oldest is 8. Leonarda tells us that one of her favourite dishes is “Chupe de Camarones” [Shrimp Chowder]. In Camaná it is easy to find and enjoy this delicious dish because they are very close to the sea--this guarantees the freshness of the product. Leonarda is a woman who works an average of eleven hours a day. This allows her to make 130 Soles per day. With this money, she is able to pay the original cost of the shoes. She thinks that her business is successful because she provides good customer service and is very charismatic. Thanks to the Kiva lenders, she will be able to buy new merchandise to sell. This will allow her to provide better customer service, thus making a better income. Her dream is to be able to expand the size of her business and therefore increase her income in order to be able to thatch the roof of her home.

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Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Christine Cooper



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