A loan of $2,975 helped a member to buy fabric, thread, buttons, zippers and needles.

Villa Las Alamedas Group's story

This communal bank es called “Villa las Almendras” and it has 15 members who are in a variety of lines of work among which are fast-food sales, jewelry sales, sale of underwear by catalogue, baked bread sales, computer supplies, work safety products and services, among others. All are from the San Bernardo commune located in the city of Santiago.

Mercedes is a communal bank member. In the photo she’s seated in the front row, first from right to left, wearing a brown blouse. She’s wearing eyeglasses and her hair is dark brown and work loose.

She has been sewing for 13 years. She comments that she works at home since she set aside part of it for her workshop. She does repairs like zipper replacement and basting and she makes dresses, sweatshirts and whatever else her customers request. Her work schedule varies according to her availability. She buys the supplies and merchandise she needs in stores that specialize in low-cost fabrics and sewing accessories which is economically advantageous. She will use the loan to buy fabric, thread for the embroidery machine and for the overlock machine, buttons, zippers and needles.

One of Mercedes’ goals is to be able to buy a special sewing machine (one that can use from one to three needles) and to replace her overlock machine with a newer one to generate more work and meet customer expectations thus generating higher income and providing better quality of life for her family.

Mercedes lives with her husband and 19-year-old daughter who is studying. Her dream on a personal level is to continue working in her occupation and to see her daughter complete her studies and graduates so her work will be complete.

Mercedes is very happy and grateful for the loan and services provided by Fondo Esperanza. She also comments that she feels very comfortable in the meetings and with her communal bank group because respect and unity are present.

San Bernardo es a city located 18 kilometers straight south from the main square in Santiago (Capital of Chile). It’s known as the capital of folklore because every year in January the “International Folklore Festival” takes place there, an event where the country’s roots and musical groups from all over South America meet. Also, Chilean craftspeople as well as others from nearby countries participate too. Then in April, the “Abril Cuecas Mil” event takes place. It consists in making the entire commune dance ‘cueca’ (a traditional Chilean dance).

In this group: Mercedes, Julieta, Rosa, Maria Angelica, Esteban, Christian, Lorena, Paula, Elizabeth, Vanessa, Orietta, Macarena, Jorge, Yoel, Marcia

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Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Polliz

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