A loan of $5,350 helped a member to purchase chickens to fatten up and sell in the market.

Las Estrellas Group's story

The Highlands of Guatemala are a rich tapestry of lush green mountains punctuated by majestic volcanoes, blue lakes and skies and colorfully dressed indigenous people. Sololá is a large town above Lake Atitlan and is known as “the city of landscape” because of the striking beauty that surrounds it. In contrast, it is an area where well over half of the indigenous population lives in poverty and an estimated 30% live in extreme poverty, a level where families are unable to obtain the minimum daily caloric intake of food.

Ten women in the Friendship Bridge Trust Bank “Las Estrellas” (The Stars) are committed to not being part of the above statistics. They are participating in the Microcredit Plus Program of the organization that combines small loans and education. They work in various small businesses including a “tortillería”, where fresh tortillas are made three times each day, animal husbandry and agriculture as well as the production of typical handicrafts, crafts and textiles.

Marcela, a single 21-year-old woman, is the youngest in the Trust Bank. She is requesting a loan to invest in the purchase of chickens. She plans to fatten them up and sell them at a good price. The proceeds of her sales will enable her to continue with her education as she recently returned to school to finish her secondary studies. As a small child, she was unable to continue her education as her mother died and she needed to help care for her seven siblings. Marcela is most excited to participate in the monthly educational trainings given by a Loan Officer of Friendship Bridge. Subjects covered include hygiene, health, nutrition and the use of medicinal plants as well as self-esteem and women’s rights. Other topics include successful business management, including information on accounting, budgeting and customer service. Friendship Bridge calls the combination of the small loans and education “Microcredit Plus”.

The women of the “Las Estrellas” Trust Bank send greetings and thanks to KIVA investors for their thoughtfulness and generosity in supplying capital for their loans. Along with their families, they face a more successful and prosperous tomorrow.

In this group: Margarita, Maria, Carmen, Jesus, Regina, Santa Ursula, Julia Alicia, Miguelina Angelina, Marcela, Ana

Loan details

Lenders and lending teams

Loan details