Do you remember Amadeo De Jesús, the 66 year old beekeeper from El Salvador?
Back in February 2016 we helped to lend him $1,100 via Kiva.org, the site we use to make our monthly ‘loans that change lives’, in order to purchase more equipment and boxes to house his hives. (If you missed it, you can read his story here.)
Well, we’re absolutely delighted to report the fantastic news that in less than a year he has repaid his entire loan.
By happy coincidence, the entrepreneur we’re funding for January is also from El Salvador, with a loan provided by the same field partner - CrediCampo - an institution dedicated to improving the lives of rural families in the region. Her name is Ana Estela, and she is seeking a loan of $400 to buy more stock for her clothing stall.
There were a few things that made Ana Estela particularly stand out to us:
Firstly Ana Estela’s area, La Unión, on the Eastern Coast, is classed by Kiva as ‘underfunded.’ Living in such an area, far from an economic centre, means it is even more difficult for her to access credit by conventional means.
In addition, CrediCampo report that 37.8% of El Salvador’s population live below the poverty line, with the nation’s average income equivalent to just £6,000 a year. (For comparison, the UK average was £27,000 last year)
Ana Estela lives in a country subject to extreme poverty, where her chances of obtaining a fair loan would otherwise be very poor.
Ana Estela was only able to attend school until fifth grade (11 years of age) Understandably, she wants her own two children to remain in education, but as a single mother this is dependent on her income alone covering the expenses of the household.
According to the child sponsorship NGO Humanium, up to 62% percent of Salvadoran children in rural areas do not attend school. Some begin working at ages as young as six or seven years old.
Running a successful business means Ana Estela is able to protect her children’s right to education.
As we in the UK grumble our way back to setting the alarm and working five day weeks this January, we should be mindful of our privileged position.
Travel guide Lonely Planet describes the climate in La Unión as one where “The heat can be brutal…even dogs whimper at noon.” Ana Estela endures a long walk to the market in these conditions, and works an exhausting 11 hour day from 6am until 5pm.
Similarly, however long we’ve been established, many of us would welcome a boost to our cashflow at the moment. Having been trading for over 5 years already, an extra $400 worth of clothing to sell will provide more choice to her existing customers and help her to draw in new ones.
Our donation will help to strengthen Ana Estela’s position as the go-to supplier in her market.
We wish Ana Estela all the luck in the word with achieving her goal- you can click here if you feel similarly inspired to contribute.
About the Author: Alice Perry
Alice is Inkspiller’s project manager. She oversees all that we do, and thinks there is no task that can’t be improved by the making of a bulleted list.