Location: Pamezabal Santa Lucía Utatlan, Sololá, Guatemala.
Loan cycles: 4
Average age of members: 37 years
Average school level of members: 0.6 years
Average loan size: $438.75
The rural village of Pamezabal Santa Lucia Utatlán is located in the department (state) of Sololá in the southwestern region of Guatemala. Its inhabitants speak Spanish and K’iche. It is also home to the nine women who form the Trust Bank called Flor de Pamezabal.
Flor de Pamezabal was founded about four years ago. During that time, the women have developed a strong sense of leadership within the group led by Magdalena Manuela, their President. She says, “The women are responding with great responsibility. They are outspoken, open to change, and united together. They are also proud to say that 16 of their children — 11 primary school, four middle school, and one high school – will attend school this year.” This is quite an accomplishment since the average education of the women in the group is only six years.
Rolanda is 49 years old with nine children. She makes and sells traditional “cortes” skirts as do most of the members of the Trust Bank. She recently joined the group after watching a friend expand her own business via Friendship Bridge’s support. With two children still of school age, she hopes the financial support and monthly training from Friendship Bridge will increase her income enough that she can continue supporting them. “It is very exciting to see the changes in our children since taking our loans and growing our businesses. Our children are watching us and the future of their village seems more hopeful,” she says.
The importance of the monthly training is exemplified by Cristina, a member who is in her third loan cycle managing a convenience store. “Friendship Bridge is a nice organization. We are pleased that many women are benefiting from its programs. Personally I have learned a lot more about women’s health. Sometimes we worry so much for others that we ignore the importance of our own health. The training has made me think more about myself than before,” Cristina says.
The Flor the Pamezabal Trust Bank wants to thank the Rotary Club for providing the support for its loans. “This is a wonderful gift,” one Trust Bank member remarked.
Thank you to the Westminster 7:10 Rotary Club and all other participating clubs for a grant to support these women. It is greatly appreciated.