A loan of $5,100 helped a member to buy molluscs and provide other mollusc collectors a fair wage.

Independiente San Lorenzo Group's story

Madeline started this business when she was ten years old, in an effort to help her mother to put food on the table every day. She is a single mother and has two sons, ages six and four who attend school. Madeline says she decided on this line of work because there was no opportunity for a more formal job. She only has a high school education and did not find any other work.

In order to do her work, she gets up every day at 4:00 a.m. to prepare breakfast and lunch for her children who stay home alone until she gets back from work.

Her work inside the swamp is very difficult since she must stick her hand down in the mud about 50 to 60 cm and feel her way around to find one or two molluscs. If she does not find anything she must move on until she does. Many times there are reptiles and toads that can bite and produce fever and weakness. Depending on the type of reptile it can even cause death. The swamp fishing area is an hour and a half from San Lorenzo, in the ocean, and the boat owners buy 100 molluscs for $8.00, then sell them to intermediaries at a price of $14.00, says Madeline.

With this loan, she wants to become an intermediary since she knows how much her colleagues suffer doing this work. She wants to pay a just price and be able to expand in the business so she can feed her children better food and spend more time at home with them.

Madeline is the one raising her hand up in the photograph. She is the leader of the group of eight people who will receive loans of $400, $500, $1,000 and $1,200, depending on how long they have been in the group.

Their previous loans were repaid on a normal basis, with nothing further to mention.

In this group: Maurin Irlanda, Monica Alexandra, Madeleine, Germania Leonida, Juan Alberto, Benny Germania, Silvana Patricia*, Norma Benilda
*not pictured

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Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Sherry Bess

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