A loan of $1,600 helped to buy products in bulk and have repairs carried out on her home.

Esther Ofelia's story

Esther, who is 62, was originally from Bolívar in the north of Ecuador but moved away from there on account of her parents' work. She faced a number of obstacles during her education and, as money was tight, received only a primary education. She married young and became a housewife but, to her distress, was not able to have children. For this and other reasons, she and her husband divorced, and this proved a difficult time. However, this inspirational woman has risen above it all and now lives in Santo Domingo Canton in Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas province. The city of Santo Domingo lies between Ecuador's mountain region and the coast and has become a commercial hub with various growth industries. Proof of this can be seen in the number of enterprising families who set up small business a few years ago and now are microentrepreneurs who play their part in generating employment. Studies show that a hands-on approach was employed in the setting-up of these businesses which have been well-received by the tourists, business people and travellers who travel between regions. Furthermore, Santo Domingo is the third most populous city in the country. For the last 6 years, Esther has sold cosmetics and household items, chiefly to women. Her sales earn her bonuses in the form of toiletries and other items for her own use. She spends several hours each morning and afternoon walking around her city's long streets taking orders from her customers, promoting her products and collecting payments for previous sales. She is now requesting a loan which she will use to buy merchandise in bulk. This will enable her to qualify for a bigger discount, and, as a result, offer competitive prices to her customers. With the extra income, Esther will pay off some debts and, in addition, will have much-needed repairs carried out on the exterior and interior fittings of her home. Thanks to Fundación Alternativa who, via Kiva, will help her finance this dream, she feels calm because, in addition to being well treated, she has been assessed by her officer, who has instilled in her agility and confidence in dealing with official procedures. Esther asks all those, the world over, who work together to finance dreams, to continue believing in people because, if they stop believing, many entrepreneurs could be lost.

Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Janice Crossfield

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