Sunday, May 25, 2008

Reaching very far

The Kiva loan I made today was to the women of the Patzutzun 2 Group in Guatemala. I am going to post the entire KIVA story, because it really shows how Kiva (and the Microfinance institutute Friendship Bridge) are reaching out to people and really changing their lives. I'm sure they have a different world view now, knowing how many gringos are helping them.

The women of the Patzuntzun II group live in the remote village of Concepcion in the Solola province. Only a few of the women in this group can speak Spanish. This however does not hinder them in their success of their businesses, since they do speak the local language Maya Kachikel very well. Many of the women were intimidated by my presence at the beginning of the interview and they were shy since they had never seen a “gringo” in their village before, but as time went by and thanks to credit agent Marta Julia they were more trusting and were able to share some of their experiences.

Six of the women in this group are businesswomen, and they will invest their credit loan in their small convenience stores. One of the women, Maria Tereza Solis is going to invest her loan in the sale of firewood. Thanks to her loan she will be able to buy twice the amount she used to buy and hopes that this way her business can grow.

The other women in the group work in the textile sector. They weave traditional fabrics. Of the four artisans, two of the women hire weavers as help. Marcela Solis actually has three employees in order to meet with the demand of her clients. Meanwhile, Lucia Lupic, is one of the oldest women, hires six weavers.

Friendship Bridge is currently offering all the women a savings account. The women told me that they were thankful to the institution for finally being able to have a place where they could keep their money. They will use their money to invest in their businesses. They want to reinvest their entire money into their businesses. Another reason why they are so happy with the institution is that it is one of the few or the only one that offers their community financial services. When the women were asked why they chose to work with Friendship Bridge they said because they had never heard of other institutions in their community.

The women wish that their businesses will be able to grow and this way they can have a stable business that will support them and their families.

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