A loan of $1,150 helped to stock her knitwear business.

Esperanza's story

Doña Esperanza, 44, is a friendly, good-natured woman, but she's serious about her work. She and her husband, Rosendo, have been married for 25 years and have three grown children. Rosendo has his own taxi business and Doña Esperanza has operated a knitwear products business for 38 years. She makes hats, scarves, gloves, etc. and tells us that she decided at 7 years old to learn to knit even though she had no materials to practice with. "One day, I took a sweater and a pair of scissors, found a place to hide and cut up the sweater--my mother's!--to make the yarn I needed." Doña Esperanza was happy with the result, but her mother less so because it was a favorite sweater. "My mother scolded me for ruining the sweater, then bought balls of yarn in different colors so that I could start knitting in earnest." She learned by watching relatives who had businesses similar to the one that she has now and when she had pieces good enough to sell, she sold them in the market. And she used the money that she made from her first sales to buy her mother a new sweater. She has earned a living from making and selling knitted products ever since. She works year-round, but knitwear is most in demand during the winter when it's coldest. Local prices for her products are low so, for the last 6 years, she has sold what she makes in other parts where buyers pay more. Doña Esperanza is applying to VisionFund and Kiva for a loan that she will use to buy yarn and the other supplies that she needs to continue her knitwear business. She designs all of her creations and only needs a few minutes to make them, but her materials are expensive and she needs help to buy them. The loan will be a great help to her, she says: "It makes me happy to know that I can carry the business forward . . . I enjoy it very much and think that I have a gift for making the products that I make". For the future, she wants to finish renovating space for shops at her house that she can loan to her nieces for businesses that they can operate together. She would also like to set up an animal-sales business that would generate an extra income.

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Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Jere Wiseman

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