Santos Albertina Alvarez is a dedicated store-owner and enthusiastic client of the Adelante Foundation. Over the course of five loan cycles, Santos has established a prosperous micro business in the community of El Cowle, which is near the city of El Progreso, and located in the department of Yoro. Santos runs a pulperia (or convenience store) adjacent to her home, where she resides with her husband, daughter and two grandchildren. Santos´ entrepreneurship affords her family with a sustainable source of income, an achievement made possible through microfinance.
Before obtaining a microloan from the Adelante Foundation, Santos sold popular meals, such as fried chicken, to members of her local community. Santos laments that she never earned sufficient income, so when she received her first loan of L 3 500 or $175.00 with the Adelante Foundation, she decided to invest in selling clothes instead. During the loan cycles that followed, Santos developed a pulperia, a business strategy that has proved to be more profitable. Microcredit enabled Santos to purchase both a refridge and freezer, permitting the sale of cold drinks and perishable goods. Santos expands her inventory with every loan cycle, and is currently paying back a loan for L 9 000 or $450.00. When asked if Santos plans to take out more microloans in the future, she exclaims, ¨Until the Adelante Foundation tells me no or stops existing!¨
Santos is married and has three adult children, one of whom is a client of the Adelante Foundation and part of the same assembly group. Santos’ daughter has two young children, and sells plastic products door to door in her community. Neither mother, nor daughter had ever withdrawn a loan before, commenting that interest rates were terrifyingly high. Santos enjoys the presentations she receives at bi-monthly assembly meetings on small business education, confirming, ¨You learn more with every presentation, you learn how to make your business better, how to sell more¨.
The income generated from Santos´ micro enterprise maintains the household’s basic necessities, such as water, electricity and food, and simple luxuries, such as cable TV. One major exception is the construction of a new bathroom, an impressive accomplishment. The cost of building a bathroom, made from concrete, including a toilet bowl, shower head, and drainage system, is over L 8 000 or $400.00! Thanks to Santos’ enterprising spirit, the family’s living conditions have been improved. Santos plans to save more to continue enhancing her family’s overall quality of life.