Carmen is a client from the department of Atlántida who bakes bread and pastries for a living, a business that she has had for five years. When I first met Carmen, she shared with me that building a kitchen was her her most sought after goal. With the help of Adelante‘s Home Improvement Loan product, she is now able to make her dream a reality for her family. She began with Adelante about two and a half years ago with a loan for about $126 and is now receiving her second Home Improvement Loan, with which she is building a kitchen. With her first Home Improvement Loan for L15,000 ($762), Carmen was able to replace her doors, windows and the wooden beams that support her roof. Her new loan for L18,050 ($925) will allow her to build an annex which will serve as the kitchen and dining room for both her family and out of which she will continue her business.
Carmen lives with her husband and four children between the ages of 7 and 12. Her home currently has two bedrooms and a small main room which serves as the living room and kitchen. The Home Improvement Loan will bring great changes to Carmen’s life, as it will allow her to have greater space to work while caring for her four children.
With her small oven she bakes various types of breads and pastries, including the Honduran specialty, semitas, and pastries such as the one tp the right stuffed with pineapple jam. Carmen also bakes cakes for her customers upon request. While Carmen bakes and attends to clients at home, her husband goes out to sell her bread and pastries at a local market. I got the chance to try one of her pineapple stuffed pastries myself and would definitely stop by frequently for her baked goods if I lived in her community.
The construction started in September and will continue slowly as the rainy season is starting up. When the project finishes, she will no longer have to divide her already small living room into two to make room for her business. Before starting with Adelante, Carmen had worked with other microfinance institutions but left when a friend invited her to join her assembly. As she continues to grow her business, she plans in the future to build a septic tank with the profits from her business. With each loan Carmen makes with Adelante, she is raising her family’s standard of living and improving her business to make her more self-sufficient.