A loan of $775 helped to buy wicker.

Elsa Mercedes's story

The Guillermo Balda communal bank meets every fortnight in Cantón Montecristi, a region known for its rich pre-colonial culture and its nationally and internationally renowned handicrafts, such as the famous toquilla straw hats. It is also home to 33-year-old Elsa, who lives with her partner, with whom she has 3 children of 8, 7 and 4 years of age, the two eldest of whom are at school. Her partner works as a bus conductor. She is a craftswoman who manufactures chairs, tables, sets of furniture and various other products from wicker, a material widely used by the people of the region to make typical local objects which are greatly appreciated by tourists. She delivers her finished products to traders who come to the region to take them to other cities where they are sold for considerable sums. Having learned the trade from her father, Elsa has worked for over 10 years in the business and is now able to earn a decent living from it. This loan is for the purchase of wicker, the primary raw material with which she works. She has been a member of the communal bank for three cycles and likes it because of the help which it provides for her. Her dream is that her children never want for anything.

Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Janice Crossfield

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