A loan of $1,500 helped to buy hair-styling products, a pot, and a table for doing hair-removal.

Maria Elena's story

Maria belongs to the "Los Luceros [Bright Stars]" Communal Bank, in the town of Padre las Casas in the city of Temuco. She has made a living in her beauty salon for thirteen years. She took specialized courses, which allowed her to perfect her skills and start her business, specifically cutting, styling, and coloring hair. Now she's adding hair-removal services in response to client demand. She works in a rented shop seven days a week from 2PM until 10PM. Mornings she sells handbags and leather jackets at various businesses.

She buys the merchandise and supplies she needs in the city of Santiago from different distributors and shops that specialize in hair products.

Maria plans to use her loan to buy hair-styling products, a pot, and a table for hair-removal. One of her goals is to be able to buy the shop she now rents and be the owner of her own salon. That way she'll generate more income to provide for the financial well-being of her family.

Maria lives with her husband, a twenty-four-year-old son who goes to the university, and a thirteen-year-old daughter who's in school. Maria's professional dreams include being able to buy the shop so she can expand her business. She is very glad and appreciative of the opportunity given to her by Fondo Esperanza because it will allow her to invest in her business. She says there's really good communication within her communal bank, and the training has served to teach her new sales and accounting strategies.

Padre las Casa is a town in the south of Chile, near the city of Temuco in the Araucanía region. It was named in honor of the Spanish priest Bartolomé de las Casa, who defended the indigenous people during the conquest of America. There is a heavy Mapuche population in this area, and the economy is based on agro-industry and commercial services.

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Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Jill Heske

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