A loan of $5,325 helped a member to buy men's and women's clothing for the winter season.

Progresando Juntos Group's story

This communal bank is called "Progresando Juntos" (Progressing Together) and consists of 21 entrepreneurs who work in different areas, including selling sopaipillas (a local bread), lingerie, confectionery, liquor store, perfume sales, clothing sales, candies, and services, among others. All the members are from the area of San Bernardo, located in the city of Santiago.

Erna, who is the president of the communal bank, is standing in the first row in the picture. She is the first one, going from left to right, and is wearing black pants and a black jacket. She wears a handmade bag over her shoulder and in her hands she has a folder. She has big earrings, and her hair is brown and is tied back.

She works in the area of buying, selling, and making clothing to wear, specifically polar (fleece) pants (pants made with a warm fabric for the winter season) and has been doing this for 15 years. She comments that she works with her mother from a cart that is located in the center of the San Bernardo area. Her working hours are from 9:00 am until 7:00 pm from Monday to Saturday.

She buys her merchandise in the Independencia area (located in the city of Santiago), where they specialize in the sale of fabrics for making clothing at low cost and thus economically convenient. With the loan she will buy men's and women's clothing for the winter season.

One of Erna's goals for her business is to be able to rent a shop, since in this way she could work more comfortably, avoiding the cold during the winter and the heat during the summer. Erna lives with her mother, her husband, and their two children, ages 18 and 24. Her dream for her work is to have the possibility of renting a shop to generate greater income, and her dream for her family is to see her children finish their education and graduate, and thus see her work completed.

Erna is very happy and grateful for the loan and the services offered by Fondo Esperanze. In addition, she comments that she feels very comfortable in the meetings and in her communal bank group, since there is generosity and unity.

San Bernardo is a city located 18 km in a straight line to the south from the Plaza de Armas in Santiago (the capital of Chile). It is known as the capital of folklore, because every year in January, they hold the International Festival of Folklore, an event in which the ethnic groups of the country gather and meet with musical groups from all of South America. The Traditional Art Fair has also developed, in which Chilean artists as well as those from other countries participate. Then in April they hold "Abril Cuecas Mil," in which the entire community dances the cueca, a traditional Chilean dance.

In this group: Erna, Lidia, Jessica, Ernesto, Ernestina, Sandra, Jessica, Andrea, Maria, Gisela, Monica, Pamela, Pablo, Jacqueline, Eugenia, Maria, Norma, Cristian, Gloria, Juana, Carmen

Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Pam McMurry

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