A loan of $600 helped to buy hemp fabric for bags and purses, wax, and hemp fibre for decorating hairbands.

Otilia's story

Otilia is 33 years old and only studied as far as fourth grade, since when she was of school age there was the armed conflict which stopped her from studying further. She has a partner and he works in agriculture growing basic grains. Their children still live with them and are studying; the oldest daughter is in the first year of college, the second daughter is in 7th grade and their son is in third grade.

Otilia earns a living making and selling crafts such as hemp bags, handbags, purses, bracelets and earrings. She has now been doing this for 3 years. She learnt how to do this because she attended a workshop where all of these craft techniques were being taught. This project was promoted by Fomilenio. She started by making a few products which sold out quickly with the arrival of tourists in the area where she lives and so she was encouraged to increase her business. She makes the products at home and then takes them to the business which is situated in the centre of the community, 300 metres from her house. She sells from 8am to 5pm, 3 days a week. Before selling crafts she used to sell products from catalogues and this is how she made a living.

The loan Otilia is asking for is to buy hemp fabric for bags and purses, wax, and hemp fibre for decorating hairbands. The loan will help her because she will be able to buy all of her materials in one go. When she has to buy items separately it makes it more difficult as it works out more expensive and this stops her from buying other items for the home.

One of her dreams is to expand her business. As far as the family goes, she hopes her children will be able to study in higher education and become professionals so they won't have any worries in life and will have everything a family needs.

She will do all of this with the profits she gets from her business. She will increase the business by building her own premises, since the place where she sells currently is shared with other women.

Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Judith McInally

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