A loan of $1,075 helped to purchase cosmetics and products with good profit margins for resale at her business.

Elsa Claudina's story

Elsa is 36 years old, and comes from a family of few economic resources. She was only able to complete elementary school, since she got married when she was very young and had to take care of household duties. Her limited education also affected her knowledge of family planning, and she had her first son when she herself was still a teenager. She now has three children, two of whom are grown and one of whom still depends on her. Elsa is married to Oswaldo, who is 43 years old, and is a mason by profession. He works on contract, so when work is scarce, so is family income.

Elsa lives with her husband and son in the parish of Río Verde, a historic area of Santo Domingo, the capital of the province of Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas, Ecuador. In recent years, the province has enjoyed steady economic growth, and the capital city of Santo Domingo has become known for its delicious fruits and cuisine. As a growing business hub, the area has become a land port of sorts between the mountain and coastal regions of the country. Santo Domingo also boasts a variety of tourist attractions and a warm climate, making it a popular destination for national and international visitors. In this changing, growing culture, many of the native people have taken up jobs in industries related to tourism.

Seeing the needs of her family for additional income, Elsa decided to start a business selling cosmetics and imitation jewelry. She started her business six years ago, and she travels around visiting her customers and selling various products. Elsa wants to expand her business to include the sales of prepaid cards for cell phone minutes, since her customers have asked her if she could provide that service, too.

Elsa hopes that, with this expansion of her business, she can improve the overall quality of services she offers to her clients. In turn, she also hopes that this improvement will generate additional income to help her pay off debts and free up more time for her to spend with her family. Elsa plans to use the support from this loan to launch the cell phone credit portion of her business, as well as purchase cosmetics and jewelry in bulk for resale, since bulk purchase prices give her the greatest profit margins. She has received a previous loan from Fundación Alternativa, and has a great track record of prompt repayments. Elsa is grateful for this opportunity, and for all the support she has received.

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Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Gillian Goodrich

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