A loan of $425 helped to buy a pregnant cow to increase her income.

Estela Maribel's story

In a rural parish in the city of Quito, Ecuador's capital, after following the dusty paths and breathing the country's pure air, we arrive at Nanegalito, a parish located to the northwest of Pichincha province. This was the home of an Ecuadorean culture and it still holds some hidden stories of Ecuador's past. This is a place with diverse flora and fauna, and clear rivers and waterfalls that attract both domestic and international visitors. Businesses offer safe and exciting extreme sporting activities. Another industry in the area is cattle raising, producing milk and meat, and agriculture, with sugar cane, yucca, reeds, oranges, mandarins and papayas grown here. Handmade crafts are a also business opportunity here, with natural materials such as seed banks used to produce them. With all this going on, local authorities worry about having the necessary facilities so that the more than 3000 inhabitants have access to basic services. Despite this, this was a somewhat forgotten area in the past and until only recently many did not have access to running water or electricity.

Estela, 38 years old, lives here and every day she wakes up with the hope of seeing her dreams becoming a reality. These dreams include seeing her son, now 19 years old, become a professional. Estela lives with her partner, Rafael, who is 44 years old and who has been a big support. For eight years Estela has been raising cattle in order to produce milk and other dairy products and, when it's worth it, selling the animals. Estela works 12 hours a day, looking after, washing and milking the cows. The help from her partner is very important for her and now she is applying for a loan to buy a pregnant cow. She is doing this with the aim of producing products from both the cow and her calf. Estela has come across various obstacles while looking for capital. The guarantees she was offering were not enough but when she is asked what motivated her to seek a loan with Fundación Alternativa, she responds that she was convinced of the organisation's agility and their confidence in people. In addition it supports the rural sector and, through Kiva, many people around the world are helping her in developing her career.

Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Iain Gaw

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