A loan of $1,075 helped to rent a shop where she can offer her products.


Margarita Elena's story

Struggling to preserve their culture and identity, the Otavalo Indians have maintained their customary language, clothing, and crafts. Margarita belongs to this culture. Like the rest of her people, she is full of drive. She is 26 years old and single. She finished high school and lives with her parents in San Rafael parish, which is in Otavalo Canton, province of Imbabura. Otavalo is a very attractive city due to its diverse culture. It is highly visited by domestic and foreign tourists who enjoy the landscape, the colorful celebrations, and the traditions of its indigenous and mestizo peoples with legendary history and who have always defended their territory. The economy in this canton is very wealthy because even in its ancient past it was considered the center of the handycraft industry and currently these products are valued all over the world. Tourism is another industry that supports this city's economy, because in its rural areas you can find rivers, lakes, waterfalls, and forests that are highly visited. Because of the affluence of tourists, merchants, and townspeople, downtown you can find a great variety of businesses that seek to offer all kinds of services to anyone passing through the city: hotels, inns, restaurants, cafes, news stands, boutiques, Internet cafes and booths, etc. Margarita learned how to make mats, fans, and several items out of straw from her grandparents and parents, using traditional methods. She has been in this business for seven years and she works on the streets downtown in order to draw attention from domestic and foreign tourists. She invests at least eight hours a day in making and selling her products. One of her dreams is to become a successful microentrepreneur and show the whole world these traditional crafts which are an important part of her culture. As a first step, Margarita wants to rent a location where she can set up her merchandise for sale and at the same time make her crafts. In order to achieve this, she has taken on the responsibility of requesting a loan. She also wants to learn about how to adequately manage a business. Fundación Alternativa, whose goal it is to erradicate poverty throughout the country, has offered Margarita support, and she assures that her living standards will improve thanks to the increased income she will obtain from sales made at her new shop.

Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Mariana Sanchis



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