A loan of $5,600 helped a member to buy straw for making Panama hats.


Las Palmitas (Montecristi) Group's story

The Communal Bank “Las Palmitas” (The Little Palms) meets every 15 days in the canton of Montecristi, which is known for its rich pre-colonial culture. The handicrafts that are produced there have been recognized on a national and international level. This place is also known for its famous Panama hats.


This group includes ten women and two men who decided to join together some time ago to form a Communal Bank. As a result, the loans they have received have helped to improve their standard of living. Most of the members of the Communal Bank are artisans who make crafts out of straw. One of the other members is in the retail trade.


One member of this group is Sra. Mireya. She is 21 years old, married, and has a three-year-old daughter. Her husband is an artisan. Like most of the people from this area, Doña Mireya and her husband make and sell Panama hats, which they do every day. She enjoys her work and it is a tradition that has continued for many years. The Panama hats are admired in many parts of Ecuador and throughout the world. Mireya learned this profession from her parents and grandparents. She has been in this line of work for five years and it has helped her move forward. The semi-finished hats that she produces are delivered to Montecristi, where the necessary final touches are added before they are sold to the public. Mireya’s loan will be used to buy straw for making the Panama hats. This is her second loan cycle with the Communal Bank and she enjoys the assistance that Fundación ESPOIR has provided. Her dream is to provide the best for her daughter.


The smaller photo shows two members who were not present at the time the main group photo was taken.

In this group: Aracely Martina, María Lucciola, Ana Cecilia, Alexandra Cecilia*, Silvia Leonor, Johanna Aracely, María Auxiliadora, María Ines, Mireya Alexandra, Jessenia Katiuska, Manuel Adalberto, Stalin Rolando*
*not pictured

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Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Ronan Reodica


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Loan details