A loan of $1,000 helped to improve her house and buy supplies for her hammock-making business.

María Elena's story

Maria, 51, who left school after the second grade, has a daughter who is studying for her baccalaureate. She's a single mother and lives with her daughter, her mother, her sister and her aunt. They're a strong family who work hard to make better lives for themselves.
Maria worked as a cleaner in the city for two years. She also makes hammocks from cascarilla and silk. She started making and selling hammocks--a skill she learned from her parents--when she was only 10 years old. She still makes them and sells some to order and some for sale in the market. She has a farming and animal-sales business, as well.
Maria walks to the city every 15 or 22 days to buy what she needs for her hammock business. It's a 30-minute walk along busy streets, but that's where she has to go to buy the supplies she needs. She sells her products from her house. She works every day of the week, starting with household chores (cooking, cleaning) and then moving on to making hammocks. Her sister and her daughter help her with the business.
Maria is applying for a loan that she will use to improve her house and buy supplies for her business. The walls are in bad shape and she will use $700 of the loan to buy materials--siding, tiles, wood, etc--and pay for labor. She will use the remaining $300 to buy materials for her hammock-making business, supplies she will need to meet the demand for her hammocks at Christmas. The investment will give her a decent and safe place to live and supplies to carry on her business.
For the future, Maria wants to save enough money to buy an adobe house. She also wants to continue providing for her family and ensure that her daughter can continue to study and get ahead in the world.

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Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Jere Wiseman

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