A loan of $1,500 helped to purchase farming supplies and prepare the earth in order to plant 8.5 acres of sorghum.

Raúl's story

Don Raúl is 52 years old and has lived with his life companion for the past 30 years. Currently he shares a home with five of his children, but two of them depend on them financially: a 15-year-old girl who is in the ninth grade at school and a 17-year-old boy who is in his first year of high school. The other children are employees of commercial businesses.

He says he is satisfied with the work of making mud bricks and roofing tiles which he has done for the past 20 years. He started the business after he stopped being a member of the revolutionary army Frente Farabundo Martí Para La Liberación Nacional. After the peace accords were signed he did not wish to return to his parents who were livestock farmers, out of fear of possible reprisals. Since he had nothing by which to earn a living, a friend encouraged him to take up the work of handcrafting mud bricks and roofing tiles. Thus he sought out persons who knew the business and learned from them until he was able to start his own production factory with two handmade ovens and up to six full-time employees depending on the season. With dedication to this activity he has achieved the purchase of two 8-ton trucks.

His raw materials for making the bricks and tiles he gets from neighboring lands (mud) and sand mines which are 25 km from his home and place of production.

The loan will be invested in the purchase of farming supplies and preparing the earth for planting 8.5 acres of sorghum with the goal of producing grain and stubble from the harvest for use in feeding the animals.

Owing to climatic and soil conditions where he runs his livestock operation, grass is only produced during the winter season (June through September). Thus it is necessary to produce enough grass to supply food for his herd of livestock. Otherwise he would have problems and might possibly have to make the decision to sell them and leave two families without employment, who are the ones who help him carry out this business and who depend directly upon this employment.

He is confident of his experience and management abilities and wishes to grow his business, stating that he prefers self-employment since it allows him to spend more time with his family and improve relationships. Likewise his income is better than the minimal salary to which he could aspire were he to work as an employee.

Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer

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