A loan of $2,300 helped a member to buy cleaning cloths.

Estrellitas (Cuenca) Group's story

The communal bank Estrellitas is made up of 6 female members and 1 male member who live in the city of Cuenca. This city enjoys a chilly climate. It is flanked by four rivers that surround it; its uneven geography gives it beautiful landscapes. The historic downtown became a World Heritage site in December of 1999. Like the members of the group, its people are women who daily find themselves in the fight to improve their economic stability in order to get their families ahead, while maintaining the culture and traditions of their people.

One of the group members is Señora Blanca, who is taking out her first loan alongside her friends and fellow group members from the Estrellita communal bank. Her mother, who had already been a member of the group for some time, had invited her to join, with the hope of mutual help in the group.

Señora Blanca is 42 years old. She is married and from her marriage has three children, ages 25, 20, and 15 years. Her first child is studying in the university, and the younger two children study in a school in the city. Her husband is a teacher. They don’t have their own house so they rent.

For five years, Doña Blanca has worked selling cleaning cloths. She works from Monday to Friday without a fixed schedule. She has also worked for the past two months caring for two children during the afternoons.

She is going to invest her loan in the purchase of cleaning cloths to expand her merchandise. Her goal is to finish her university studies.

The small photo is of a group member who could not be present when the group photo was taken.

In this group: Marísa Margarita, Mercedes Esther, Karla Estefania, Diana Mercedes, Marianita De Jesús, Blanca Dolores, Pablo Bolivar

Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Patricia Patton

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