A loan of $3,425 helped a member these women would like to purchase thread for weaving, as well as beads for jewelry, supplies for a store, and ingredients for tortillas.


Mujeres San Jardin De Jorge I Group's story

The women of the community bank Mujeres Jardin de San Jorge arrive early for their meeting at the office of Friendship Bridge in Sololá, the region’s capital city, about a fifteen minute bus ride uphill from their town of San Jorge la Laguna. As they wait for the previous meeting to end, they greet each other with hugs and a chorus of ‘buenos dias’ and ‘como estas’, followed by excited chatter in their native language Kaqchiquel. As the other meeting lets out and the women begin to file in, the cream colored room becomes a canvas of brilliant colors, painted by the beautiful and intricate ‘huipiles’ (traditional woven blouses) that each woman wears.

These huipiles are just one of many trades that the women practice. Among the eighteen, about half of them dedicate their time to weaving and sewing skirts (like the ones in the picture), scarves, purses, belts, ribbons that get woven into long braids, as well as huipiles. Ten of the 18 women are asking for a group loan of 26,000 quetzales ($3425), ranging from $150 to $400 per person, five of whom will invest in thread for their artisan business (one of them was not able to be present for the photo). Two women have jewelry businesses, making beaded bracelets, necklaces, rings and earrings that they sell in the nearby tourism capital Panajachel. Two women have small stores, selling soft drinks, snacks, chicken and sausages. And one woman, who could not be at the meeting because she was sick, has a tortillería, and will invest in the ingredients necessary for making corn and flour tortillas.

The women of Mujeres Jardin have been with Friendship Bridge for two years, but have been together as a group much longer. They were previously with another institution, but were looking for a lower interest rate, which Friendship Bridge offers. They are more than happy with their new microfinance home, and are excited to see the long-term benefits for their business that less interest will bring. In addition to lower interest, one of their favorite things about Friendship Bridge is the education they receive—they are learning how to better run their business, care for their family, and have a real hope for the future (and they like that they get to play games while they learn, too!).

In this group: Irma Cristina, Rosario, Rosario, Angelina, Concha, Francisca, Ana Maria, Olga, Candelaria*, Regina*
*not pictured



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Loan details