Wednesday, February 11, 2009

social loan at Casa Maria Amor CMA

hello dear friends,

the woman in the picture wearing the pink jacket is Maria Cabillas Vargas.

she is a friend of mine who lived at CMA and worked in the laundry Mujeres con Exito when i was here last year. she lived at CMA with her 7 (!) children, aged 20 down to 6 months. (note: she sought a tubal ligation, but the doctors refused her because she was "too young and could have more kids!!!)

when she left the casa, her companeras (fellow workers in the laundry) approved a micro loan of $150 from the funds at the laundry so she could start raising and selling chickens - in addition to her other jobs like working in the laundry and cleaning houses. all the women supported her effort to start this small business and they approved and secured the loan.

Maria paid it back quickly. and with the proceeds of her business, she was able to rent a house, and has opened a tienda in the front room. a tienda is a small shop; in hers, maria sells fresh fruits and vegetables and some staples like sugar and rice.

she approached me about making a loan so she could buy inventory, and i agreed. since i am thinking of starting a social loan program on the Internet when i get home, and asking all of you to consider making social loans, i decided i'd better put my money where my mouth is. I loaned her $500 which she will repay over 18 months. she will pay 1% interest per month, but this interest will go to the laundry to increase its coffers. i will get the principal back so i can lend it others.

all the women in the laundry reviewed her second project and after approving the project, they all signed to secure her loan. this is called Solidaridad with a capital S. i thought maria was a good model for the other women, and as she repays her loan, i will have no problem encouraging all of you to make social loans too...

by the way, Maria named her business Tienda de Carolina. I wept!

more soon...


  1. This story gave me chills. Thanks for the updates.

  2. You are just the best! The world is lucky to have such a kind, caring, and loving person as Carolyn. Keep up the good work!