Luz de mi Sendero Trust Bank
Location: Santa Cruz del Quiche, Guatemala
Loan cycles: 1
Average age of members: 35 years
Average member school level: 4
Average loan size: $240
Santa Cruz, the capital of the department (state) of Quiche, is a metropolis nestled in the Chuacús Mountains and surrounded by several small towns. The city serves as a marketplace where corn, beans and livestock are commonly sold. In this environment, the Luz de mi Sendero Trust Bank was formed with eight members in their first-ever loan cycle. These women all make their living by selling in the marketplace. Their goods include tortillas, pastries and meals as well as clothes.
Although new to the concept of microfinance loans, these women are already working on future goals. The group began as close friends and they expect to work together long-term. Despite having different businesses, Elena Viviana says, ‘When one of us proposes something, we can get it done together!”
With only five years of primary school and five children, Elena set up a food business. She responded quickly when a loan officer asked when they were going to start going after what they want. “Now!” she said enthusiastically. “I want to grow my business,” she says. “I can do this with the help of Friendship Bridge.” She is thankful and does not think she could expand her business without the capital provided through Friendship Bridge.
Marta Raymundo is another member of the Trust Bank. A teacher, she believes strongly in education. “A lot of times there is not an opportunity for education. It is not okay because we have a right to education.” She explains her motivation:
“If we do not know, we cannot act. We need to know to live.”
The others nod in agreement. The lessons they are learning are investments in their quality of life. “We are already empowered!”