A loan of $1,125 helped to purchase seasonal casual clothing.

Ernestina Del Pilar's story

Ernestina is 41 and was born and raised in a chilly rural town in northern Ecuador. She married very young and had two children, whom she had to educate on her own as her husband disappeared 13 years ago. Ernestina never heard from her husband again and learned various businesses in an attempt to support her children.

Shortly after she married her now ex-husband, the couple moved to Quito, the Ecuadorean capital. They were among many migrants from across the country who came to Quito seeking new opportunities. Ernestina lives in Yaruquí Parish, on the outskirts of Quito, a region rich with treasures left by the Inca people who lived there. In recent years, Yaruquí Parish has grown, with burgeoning construction of new homes. The major economic activities, however, are still flower and poultry production, though commercial and industrial ventures, and especially tourism, are also significant. Tourists from Ecuador and abroad come to see where the Incas lived, a magnificent pyramid, and a cave that leads to a shrine.

Ernestina has for two years sold casual clothes for men, women, and children. She learned the business at the suggestion of a family member and began selling door-to-door to friends and neighbors. Ernestina eventually gave up selling door-to-door and set up a shop in her home, where she works ten hours a day. She currently carries a smaller variety of clothes than she used to, and she is requesting a loan for the exclusive purchase of seasonal clothing for adults and children. These loan funds will also provide Ernestina another benefit: they will allow her to make wholesale purchases at lower prices than she has paid before. The greater the volume of inventory she buys wholesale, the lower the price her suppliers charge her, increasing her profit margin. Ernestina will use this extra income to improve her quality of life and help the son who still lives with her finish his education.

Ernestina has found in the Fundación Alternativa the support, advice, and trust she was seeking to help grow her business.

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Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Stephen Volante

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