A loan of $4,025 helped a member to purchase beads and thread, as well as invest in a bakery, chickens, and vegetable cultivation.

Chaquijya Central Group's story

Thirteen women make up the "Chaquijya Central" communal bank, a confident group who know each other well, and are ready to take out their second loan from Friendship Bridge. Gathered in the office in Sololá, they share about their businesses and dreams for the future.

Ten of the women are skilled in beading; crafting beautiful bracelets, necklaces, and earrings from tiny translucent beads, and selling them in the streets of nearby tourist towns, as well as through orders that friends and neighbors place. They will invest their loans in beads and string, which they purchase from a market in Sololá. Olga Tunay says that for the first time, with the help of their previous loan, they were able to buy beads in bulk, which drastically reduced the cost, as well as the number of trips they must make to the market.

Two women are skilled weavers, producing "huipiles" (the traditional Mayan blouse) and skirts like the ones in the picture. They will invest their loan in thread to weave these intricate clothes. A single huipil can take up to three months to make, and after an initial investment of $30-$50, it can be sold for up to $200. These huipiles represent a woman's home town, her marital status, and other interests and beliefs.

Three women have second businesses, in addition to their crafts. Marcela Y. also raises chickens to add to her beading income. Elena C. grows vegetables, such as corn, potatoes, and milpa (the leaves that are used to wrap tamales). And Olga Tunay has a panadería (a bakery), where she bakes fresh bread daily that is sold to local stores. She is well known in her community and regular customers stop by all day to purchase bread.

The women are very pleased with the direction in which their businesses are headed, and are now dreaming of the future. Their main goal is "seguir adelante," to keep moving forward, in order to proviD. better for their families and offer their children the educations they weren’t able to have. To achieve this, they hope someday to open stores where they can sell their jewelry and clothing. Olga would like to open another bakery, Marcela would like to raise animals besides chickens, and others would like to begin additional businesses, like raising animals or selling tortillas. They are learning to save money for the future that will help them with these goals.

The women of Chaquijya Central express their happiness in being a part of Friendship Bridge. They have seen other banks, and are grateful for the low interest rate and education they receive here. In addition to being a source capital, they have also found friendship and community. They are asking for a group loan of 30,500 quetzales (about $4,025 USD) that they will pay back over 9 months.

In this group: Regina Tuy, Santos, Isabel, Victoria, Faustina, Maria Elena, Josefa Ibate, Olga Tunay, Juliana, Marcela, Paula Maria, Juana Pablo*, Elena

Loan details

Lenders and lending teams

Loan details