A loan helped a member to purchase materials to create crafts.

Sonrisas Frente Al Mar Group's story

This communal bank is called “Sonrisas Frente al Mar” (Smiles Facing the Sea) and is made up of 18 entrepreneurs who have different businesses such as crafts, preparation of desserts, grocery sales, etc. All of the members are from the city of Valparaíso.

Raquel is the delegate of this lending group. In the photo she is in the second row, seated in the second chair from the left. She has black hair with bangs, and she is smiling. Raquel creates crafts, specifically figures and adornments in "soft". The materials she uses are white panty hose stuffed with synthetic cotton. She has been doing this for 3 years. A neighbor taught her this craft.

Her mode of work is to make 25 soft figures daily, which she sells wholesale to a distributor who does all of the details and then sells them. She works 7 days a week with a flexible schedule. She says the seasons of highest demand are around Valentine's Day celebrations, Mother's Day, Independence celebrations, and Christmas. She tells us that she sells the same quantity of products during the whole year, but during the high seasons sales grow. She purchases the materials she needs from different distributors at shopping centers that sell supplies wholesale. She will use the loan to purchase the materials she needs to make her handicrafts. One of her goals for her business is to set up her own shop.

Raquel lives with her husband and her three children, ages 13, 11, and 9. She is also two months pregnant, and very happy. One of her dreams for her personal life is to purchase a car for transportation and to pay for college for her children so they can be professionals.

She is very happy and thankful for the economic opportunity provided by Fondo Esperanza, as it allows her to invest in the materials for her business. She also enjoys the meetings and training provided, which have allowed her to socialize with the rest of the members of the group.

Valparaíso is located 120 kilometers northeast of Santiago. It is the regional capital and the seat of the National Congress. It is the principal port in the country and has a great variety of beautiful and picturesque places, such as the house of Pablo Neruda, the Nobel Prize winning poet.

In this group: Raquel, Juan, Carolina, Germán, Cristian, Jorge, Marjorie, Margarita, Raquel, Jacqueline, Verónica, Catherin, Fabiola, Julia, Leslie, Priscilla, Gilda, María Cristina

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Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Michele Magrino.

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