How Can $75 Change a Life in Mexico?

May 10, 2012 by

Flor Cruz used a loan to start a home-based food business. Photo by Philip Laubner/CRS

In a microfinance program in Mexico, women (who are often the heads of their household) receive financial training and an initial $75 loan to start a new business as part of a savings and internal lending program (SILC) supported by Catholic Relief Services. These enterprises help the women to achieve financial stability and independence.

Read about Flor, who used her loan to invest in a home-based business that sells food.

In the Oaxacan town of San Juan Chapultepec, far from the tourist attractions, jobs are scarce.

“I found a job at a furniture store in another town. Every morning I left very early, and every night I came back very late,” says Flor Cruz. “I felt I was neglecting my children.”

Through a neighbor, Flor learned of Bancomunidad, an SILC of women. Catholic Relief Services’ partner Centro de Desarrollo Comunitario Centéotl provides group members with an initial loan of 1,000 pesos (about $75) to invest in a small startup business. To be accepted as a new member or get a bigger loan, the women must agree to a code of ethics, participate in weekly meetings and demonstrate fiscal responsibility. With her initial loan, Flor started a home-based business and now sells tortillas, tamales and tacos.

Photo Gallery: Meet some of the women of Bancomunidad in Oaxaca, Mexico.

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