A loan of $3,100 helped a member to buy winter clothing and fleece for making garments.

Progresando Juntos Group's story

This Communal Bank is called "Progresando Juntos" (Progressing Together) and consists of 16 entrepreneurs who engage in different businesses such as selling lingerie, preparing fast food, preparing traditional Chilean food, managing a perfume shop and bazaar, and other ventures. All of the members are from the community of San Bernardo.

Erna is the president of this Communal Bank group. In the photograph, she is standing in the last row in the first position from left to right. She has her hair pulled back and is wearing a short-sleeved black shirt. Erna sells new clothing, but she also makes garments. She has been in this business for 12 years. Her merchandise is sold from a stand located in the central part of her community. There she works with her mother, who is in charge of handling direct sales. Her work schedule is from Monday to Saturday, all day. Once a week, Erna buys the merchandise she needs in bulk from distributors. Her loan will be used to buy winter clothing, especially track suits and athletic shoes. In addition, she will purchase fleece for making garments. One of her goals is to have an established shop.

Erna lives with her husband and two children, ages 24 and 18, who are in school. One of her dreams for her family is to see her children become professionals. She would also like to have a home of her own. Erna is very pleased and grateful for the financial opportunity provided by Fondo Esperanza to invest in her business. She also enjoys the Communal Bank meetings with her group because the members are close and responsible.

San Bernardo is a city that is located 18 kilometers due south from the Plaza de Armas in Santiago (the Chilean capital). It is known as the folklore capital since the International Folklore Festival is held there every January. This event highlights the various ethnic groups of the country and musical groups from all over South America gather there. Chilean artisans, as well as those from other countries nearby, also participate in the Traditional Craft Fair. In the month of April, an event called "Abril Cuecas Mil" celebrates the "cueca" (a traditional Chilean dance) throughout the entire community.

In this group: Erna, Luciano, Jessica, Ernesto, Ernestina, Sandra, Daina, Mónica, Solange, Pamela, Pablo, Norma, Cristian, Gloria, Juana, Carmen

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Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Ronan Reodica

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