A loan of $1,700 helped to buy charcoal.

Maria Silvia's story

María’s part of the “Mis Sueños” (My Dreams) communal bank in the city of Talca. She’s worked as a dressmaker and charcoal merchant for twenty years. She comments that she works from home from Monday through Saturday and arranges her schedule according to availability. She does general clothes repairs, makes curtains, costumes and seat covers. She buys the merchandise and supplies as needed in Santiago where she finds a wide variety of fabric and dressmaking supplies at low cost which is advantageous economically to satisfy customers so that they’ll return to order more. She will use the loan exclusively to buy charcoal.

One of her goals is to have a home-based dress shop to tend to customers more comfortably and generate higher income in order to be able to have a better quality of life. María lives with her parents. Her dream on a work level is to be more enterprising and set up more work machinery and to provide employment for others. She’s very happy and grateful for the opportunity Fondo Esperanza is giving her since it’s allowed her to invest in her business. Also, she feels very comfortable in company of the other entrepreneurs in her communal bank because they share different activities and interests which she has enjoyed. With respect to the training provided during the meetings, she’s learned to better manage her business.

Talca belongs to the Maule Region, a zone in the middle of the country. It’s the administrative, economic and cultural center of the region and the most important city in the Chilean Central Valley. There’s a curious phrase about Talca in Chile that says: “Talca, Paris and London.” Among the myths associated with is, some say it comes from something originally said by an Englishman “Talca parece Londres” because of the abundant fog that frequently covers the city in winter similar to the capital of the United Kingdom.

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Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Polliz

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