Maria: Overcoming Obstacles
Maria’s cheerful smile and demeanor makes it hard to imagine the obstacles she has overcome. Her single year of education limited the options she was able to pursue later in life, and at a young age Maria resigned herself to marrying young and struggling to meet daily expenses – the same reality she saw her parents experience. When she became a single mother at age 21, Maria realized that as the sole provider for her child, she needed to pursue a better future than the one she had resigned herself to.
Summoning inner strength, Maria moved away from her village to an urban center. Because she had no education and spoke only her indigenous language, not Spanish, employment opportunities were difficult to find. Disheartened and worried for the future of her son, Maria took the only employment available – making tortillas, fresh three times a day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
After several years of working in another woman’s tortilleria, Maria decided she wanted to venture out and start her own tortilla-making business. At first she was hesitant about the commitment of securing a Friendship Bridge loan, but she knew it would help her grow her business and develop personally. Maria joined the Trust Bank Generación de Cambio, or Generation of Change – a fitting name, as she and the other women in her Trust Bank are pursuing transformative change for themselves and their children.
“It is difficult to be a single mother. There are limited opportunities, and I think that women like me are taken advantage of. Friendship Bridge has been very transparent and fair with us, and I have a lot of confidence in the organization,” Maria says.
The look on Maria’s face gives away how much pride she has about owning her own business. As her business has grown, Maria hired her niece to help manage the growing demand for her tortillas. Similar to Maria, her niece struggled to make a living and support her family, and says, “I am most appreciative of the opportunity to be employed. My aunt has experienced some very challenging and difficult times and now she is able to share her knowledge and wisdom with me.”
Maria and her niece portray how a simple microloan combined with education can change the trajectory of a life. As Maria has become the agent of her own change, her life and the lives of her son and her niece have changed forever.
Thanks to Photolease for their support of clients like Maria!