A loan of $1,100 helped to purchase cuyes [guinea pigs] to raise and sell them.

María Susana's story

María is a young single woman of 24 who lives with her mother, Isabel, who is 65. They live in Andrade Marín parish in Atuntaqui, which is a city of 21,000 inhabitants, located in Imbabura Province in northern Ecuador. Although the proper name of the area is Antonio Ante, those who visit or have heard about it usually call it Atuntaqui. This area is known for its textile fabrication which represent the majority of the economic movement of the city. Besides their tasty typical food, here they prepare the best fritadas that are made from a base of pig meat and accompanied by products from the area like potatoes and "mote" (a corn-based food).

This entrepreneur started her own business a year ago, raising and selling cuyes [guinea pigs, raised for meat in some parts of Latin America]. She learned this work from her mother. She provides economically for her humble household. Now she intends to grow her business (since the demand for this animal allows for growth), and for that she needs a loan so she can purchase more cuyes and sell them to increase her earnings.

Fundación Alternativa, which is the field partner for this loan, offers María training and advice in such a way that her business can grow in a sustainable manner. An interesting aspect of this business is that in Ecuador these animals are sold as food, not as pets as is done in other countries. Despite working at this business full time, María's dream is to have a bakery. She says that her siblings are bakers and in her free time she helps them, and this has given her the incentive to work toward one day having her own bakery.

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Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Laura Melbourne

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