Inspiring Stories of FINCA Clients

Mary Niapau, FINCA Zambia
FINCA Zambia Client

Following a difficult divorce, Mary Njapau fell into a deep depression. The mother of four knew she needed to take some time to regain her balance, so she left her children with her younger sister and went to live with her brother in the Lusaka township of Matero.

 

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Nafisa, FINCA Afghanistan
FINCA Afghanistan client Nafisa

Nafisa is 50 years old and has decades of experience designing and sewing traditional Afghani dresses. Her expertise and attention to detail are well known in Mandavi, where she lives with her husband, daughter and two sons. But her tailoring skills are known beyond the confines of her community, as she sells her creations to five shops in Kabul, as well as filling orders that come in from Canada and the US.

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Elvira Maria Orellana, FINCA El Salvador
Catarina Yolanda Yac de Leon, FINCA Guatemala

When Elvira Maria Orellana’s husband died 27 years ago, she was left alone to raise her two young children, who at the time were one and six years old. She took a variety of jobs to put food on the table and a roof over her children’s heads, but it was always a struggle.Her first solo venture was selling bread and snacks from her home, so she could take care of her children... 

 

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Angela Margarita Rodríguez, FINCA El Salvador
FINCA El Salvador

Since her husband abandoned her five years ago, 35-year old Angela Margarita Rodríguez has supported her four children ages 15, 10, 9 and 6 from her sale of prepared food and candy. Before she became a FINCA client, Angela’s business made little progress...

 

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Berna Naiga, FINCA Uganda
FINCA Uganda client

To say Berna Naiga is an inspiration is an understatement. While in the prime of her life, she became infected with HIV/AIDS, but she’s not let that stop her from becoming one of the most successful entrepreneurs in her village. Perhaps some of her motivation comes from caring for and supporting 10 orphaned children, all nephews and nieces of her relatives who have died of AIDS.

 

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Doña Aura, FINCA Nicaragua
Doña Aura, FINCA Nicaragua

The aroma of popcorn wafted through the air as we passed through the front gate and stood in front of the open doorway. “Buenas” we called out as we waited to be invited in. It was midday, and the sun was beating down, finding its way between the leaves of the trees to heat us up even in the shade...

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Atyrkul Boronchieva, FINCA Kyrgyzstan
FINCA KyrgyzstanClient

FINCA Kyrgyzstan customer Atyrkul Boronchieva took her first loan from FINCA in 1997, and has been a loyal and dependable customer ever since! She recalls that, before applying for her first loan of 3,000 Kyrgystani Soms (US$63), her life was very hard.

 

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Hermilia Regina Morales, FINCA Mexico
 FINCA Mexico Client Hermilia Regina Morales

Hermilia Morales is a married, 38-years-old mother of one teenaged child, and lives in Cologne, Chula Vista, Cuernavaca, Mexico, where she sells jewelry from a street stand. Neither Hermilia nor her husband finished their schooling. As a child, she began working with her mother selling the same type of goods on the streets of her village and, when she married, she and her husband decided they would open their own stand, but create their own designs... 

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Lara Margania, FINCA Georgia
Lara Margania, FINCA Georgia

For the past 17 years, Lara Margania has risen every morning before 6:00 a.m. and made her way to the seaside near her town of Kobuleti to purchase fish. For Lara, who sells to local fish retailers, quality is extremely important, and she says she always wants to be sure she gets “fresh fish from the first hands of the day.” At 64, Lara is the sole support for five family members – her mother, her sister and her sister’s family... 

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Elizabeth Katalilo, FINCA Zambia
Charity Cheelo, FINCA Zambia Client

Having been forced to drop out of high school in ninth grade after her father abandoned her mother and her 11 siblings, Elizabeth Katalilo married at age 18 and says she was fortunate that her husband made enough money to support the family. Unfortunately, her beloved husband died in 2010, leaving the 47-year-old widow as the sole provider for their eight children... 

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Livni Senovia Gomez Lopez, FINCA Guatemala
FINCA Guatemala Client

Livni Senovia Gomez Lopez learned her skills as a weaver while working for another person but longed to have her own business. She baked bread and chile rellenos to supplement the irregular income that came from weaving but it was never much. Following the invitation of a friend, she helped form a Village Bank and requested a loan from FINCA. They decided to name their group “La fé” (faith), trusting that, if given an opportunity, they would be able to grow...

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Catarina Yolanda Yac de Leon, FINCA Guatemala
Catarina Yolanda Yac de Leon, FINCA Guatemala

Catarina Yolanda Yac de Leon was born without her right arm. In school she was teased and taunted by other children; her disability made her feel that she was “good for nothing.” Once she was older, she decided to help her family earn a little extra income by making fajas, beaded belts that are part of the traje típico or traditional indigenous dress. With the limited money she had available, she could only afford to buy beads in very small quantities... 

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Charles Rony Alphonse, FINCA Haiti
Charles, FINCA Haiti Client

Charles Rony Alphonse has been a FINCA Haiti client since 2009 and lives in Hinche, a small rural town in the east part of the country. Prior to working with FINCA, Charles split his time between his business and farming to generate enough income to support his eight kids. After receiving an individual loan from FINCA, Charles was able to devote all of his time to his business...

 

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Naema, FINCA Jordan
Bertride Beaufils

Becoming financially independent is one life's greatest challenges. But at 60 years old, FINCA Jordan client Naema Sayyed Muhammed Ahmed embodies the entrepreneurial spirit that, with the right support, can transform lives. For over 30 years, Naema has been employed as a seamstress, bringing home a small salary that helped to pay the bills and send her two children to school. Yet, when her husband divorced her, Naema was left as the family's sole provider...

 

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Precilien Sivalien, FINCA Haiti
Precilien Sivalien, FINCA Haiti

Precilien Sivalien’s parents were so poor that they had to give him to an orphanage while he was a child. After working in a textile factory in the Dominican Republic, Precilien returned to Haiti with a new set of skills.

He started teaching sewing at a factory during the day and working a second job at night, but because of safety concerns he decided he could no longer run this schedule...

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Jesca Makumbi, FINCA Tanzania
Jesca Makumbi, FINCA Tanzania

Jesca Makumbi is a 34-year-old mother who shares her life with her husband and son named Goodluck in Kitunda, Tanzania. Life had been going well for the young couple until 1999, when her mother died, leaving Jesca not only with the pain of losing her, but with the responsibility of raising her three siblings. Up to that point, Jesca and her husband relied solely on income he received from his job as a meat vendor as well as some support from her mother. But when the couple was suddenly faced with supporting her two sisters and brother, and the added responsibility of paying their school fees, Jesca knew she had to find a way to contribute to the family’s income...

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Hafiza, FINCA Afghanistan
Hafiza, FINCA Afghanistan

Embroidery and vegetable sales might seem like an odd pairing, but for Hafiza and her husband Besmillah, they represent the difference between extreme poverty and being able to provide for your three children. At 38, Hafiza has become an accomplished embroiderer whose only stumbling block was that she didn’t have the capital she needed to purchase more materials -- embroidery cotton and thread, and Charma, a traditional velvet waistcoat worn by Afghan men that she would adorn with intricately patterned gold and silver braid...

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Catarina Castro Cac de Lux, FINCA Guatemala
Bertride Beaufils

The business of weaving is a family affair for Catarina Castro Cac de Lux and her husband. The 30-year-old and her husband have earned their living over the past seven years by weaving beautiful scarves, blankets and fabric for skirts, which they sell in their village of Aldea Pachaj, Patzite, Quiché Guatemala.While the business has provided the family with a meager income over the years, there was never enough to ensure that their five children—ages 15, 12, 10, 8 and two-and-a-half—had more than small amounts of food with which to nourish their growing bodies. Sending the children to school was also a luxury the family couldn’t afford...

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Victoria Banda, FINCA Zambia
Victoria Banda, FINCA Zambia

Victoria Banda (36, on the right of the photo standing next to her mother) did not finish primary or secondary school. She is now the main income earner for her household and lives with her parents, and two sisters. In 2001 she borrowed $20 to expand food sales through her storefront. Over the years she has managed to continually grow and improve her business, now operated out of a store in front of her home, expand the family house and even acquire a rental property. In the meantime, her younger sister was able to complete college with Victoria's financial support.

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Conception Monterrosa Carranza, FINCA El Salvador
Conception Monterrosa Carranza, FINCA El Salvador

Conception Monterrosa Carranza is 66 years old and lives in Canton Santa Clara, Resume, El Salvador. As a child, she spent a lot of time with her mother, who taught her how to prepare seafood cocktails. Little did she know that this skill would someday help her through a very rough time in her life. Conception first started making and selling her seafood cocktails as a way to contribute to her husband’s income. After all, they were raising nine children together. Then, one day, her husband abandoned his family, providing no financial support...

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Wendy Molina de Recinos, FINCA El Slavador
Wendy Yesenia Molina de Recinos

Wendy Yesenia Molina de Recinos and her husband thought life couldn’t be going any better. They had a beautiful, three-year-old little girl. Wendy was in her third year at university in Santa Ana, El Salvador, and her husband’s income was enough to keep the family in good stead. But then their beautiful daughter fell terribly ill with a kidney disorder. Even as the doctors treated her, her condition worsened, and it was soon discovered that she had an intestinal tumor. Wendy knew she had to withdraw from university and give all of her attention to caring for her little girl...

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Bertride Beaufils, FINCA Haiti
 Bertride Beaufils

“My name is Bertride Beaufils. I am 40 years old and live in Fonfred, a locality of Les Cayes. I grew up with my mother who was retailing fizzy [sodas], and my father was retailing cigarettes and alcohol. My parents put me at school, but when I was in secondary school, they became unable to continue paying for me. They decided to pay for me to go to a dressmaker center. I heard talk about FINCA a long time ago from a friend who was a member. Since my first experience with FINCA, I appreciated the welcome I received from the credit officer. About one year ago, I decided to take a loan. I received a first loan of $200 and invested it in my business...

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Alma Lizeth Zarceño Morán, FINCA El Salvador
Alma Lizeth Zarceño Morán, FINCA El Salvador

Alma Lizeth Zarceño Morán was always happy that her two children, who are eleven and 7 years old, have been able to go to school, thanks to the help of her mother-in-law, who runs a small bakery. But, at the same time, Alma realized that she needed to earn her own income and do her part to contribute to the household's expenses. So Alma was delighted when her mother-in-law agreed to share her bakery's equipment with her, so that she could start her own baking business...

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Lontia Mwanza, FINCA Zambia
FINCA Zambia client Lontia Mwanza

Lontia Mwanza is 43 years old and lives with her husband, their 11 children, and her late sister’s three sons, daughter and grandchild in a compound in Lusaka, Zambia. Supporting 16 growing children would be a challenge for any family, but it has been even more so for the Mwanza’s, so much so that that they’ve had to resort to renting out one of their rooms for additional income in order to feed their children. They also depend on a local church to help support some of their children’s needs...

 

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Egreen Namusokwe, FINCA Zambia
Egreen Namusokwe, FINCA Zambia Client

Egreen Namusokwe of Lusaka, Zambia, is 57 years old, married and the mother of six children. But each day Egreen’s heart is sad because, as hard as her husband has tried to support the entire family and pay the children’s school fees, his income has never been enough. Because there’s just not enough to support them all, they have had to send three of their children to live with her sister in another village. Egreen’s greatest desire was to supplement her husband’s income, but she didn’t have any means to help her family.

 

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Voices Of Hope Video Stories
María Trinidad Rodríguez Pillam

Watch FINCA Mexico clients share how FINCA loans have changed their lives.

Erika works 11 hours per day - sometimes more - selling vegetables near the market in Jojutla. With her increased earnings, she is proud that she can keep her three children in school. Erika's hope for the future is to move into a bigger and better stall inside the market, where she could add other produce to her goods for sale and really grow her business.

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María Trinidad Rodríguez Pillam, FINCA El Salvador
María Trinidad Rodríguez Pillam

María Trinidad Rodríguez Pillam lives in a leaky shack made of corrugated tin with her common law husband and their six children in a small village in the township of Sonsonate in El Salvador. For many years, to supplement the meager income her husband earns as a day laborer for farmers in the area, María has risen early each day to grind corn and make hundreds of tortillas, which she sells in the market in Sonsonate...

 

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Bwalya Chanda, FINCA Zambia
María Trinidad Rodríguez Pillam

After Bwalya Chanda’s parents died when she was a child, she and her two sisters moved in with their grandparents. Bwalya soon had to drop out of school because her grandparents could not afford the fees. Instead of finishing school, Bwalya has grown up working to support the family of five. Today, she is their sole provider. Years ago, in exchange for help running her market stall, Bwalya’s cousin taught her sewing and tailoring...

 

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Shakila, FINCA Afghanistan
María Trinidad Rodríguez Pillam

FINCA Afghanistan client Shakila lives with her husband, two married sons and a daughter in the village of Bekrabad, in western Herat in Afghanistan. Like many Afghan families, they had fled to Iran in the 1990s to escape the dangers of life under the Taliban, but returned home several years ago. To help make ends meet, Shakila and her husband started a grocery store, but they struggled to pay for rent and daily expenses...

 

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Rosena Lafleur, FINCA Haiti
María Trinidad Rodríguez Pillam

Since her earliest days, Rosena Lafleur has faced extraordinary challenges with dignity and hope. Rosena grew up in poverty and never learned to read or write. She dropped out of school at age ten because her parents could not afford the school fees and her father wanted her to work to help support the family.
Rosena’s mother taught her how to run a small business and she started selling fish on the street...

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Marzia, FINCA Afghanistan
María Trinidad Rodríguez Pillam

Marzia lives with her husband and six children in a small town north of Kabul. A skilled tailor, Marzia has been the primary bread winner for her family for over 20 years, because her husband’s earnings from buying and selling scrap metal are so meager. Unable to afford a sewing machine, Marzia struggled for years to expand her business to improve the family’s living standards...

 

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Saumu Eneza, FINCA Tanzania
Saumu Eneza, FINCA Tanzania

Saumu Eneza lives in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, with her husband and four children. Before joining a FINCA Village Banking group, she operated a tiny business selling juice on the street to help support her family. But she had no capital to improve her business, so she contemplated closing it and finding another, better source of income, so the family could afford better food and the school fees for all the children.

 

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Karla Karina Torres Ortiz, FINCA El Salvador client
FINCA El Salvador cleint Karla Karina Torres

Karla Karina Torres Ortiz had been working in a factory for three years, but kidney problems prompted her retirement at 30 years of age. Karla lives in Canton Cantarrana, Santa Ana, with her husband and mother. Karla shares the responsibility for earning a living for the household. Her husband is a bricklayer but since jobs are scarce, so is the income. When a friend asked Karla to join Grupo Comunal Los Comerciantes, she decided to join and use the loan from FINCA to set up a stall selling tortillas.

 

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Majeda Suleiman, FINCA Jordan
Majeda Suleiman, FINCA Jordan Client

Majeda Suleiman and her husband were successful Jordanian entrepreneurs, earning a good income from the trading company they had started to support their family. In 2008, however, the company suffered a series of reversals, and Majeda and her husband lost everything. They ended up owing thousands of dollars to their suppliers, and had to sell much of their property to repay their debts. The family’s living standards suffered severely. 

 

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Lala Yolchiyeva, FINCA Georgia
FINCA Georgia Client Lala Yolchiyeva

Lala Yolchiyeva lives in the town of Ponichala, on the outskirts of Georgia's capital Tbilisi, with her husband, their son and her husband’s parents. To help support the family, she raises vegetables and other crops on a small farm. She sells her vegetables in the local market to people from Ponichala and the area. Lala first became a FINCA Georgia client in 2008 in order to boost her farm's productivity and increase her income to help improve the family's living standards.

 

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Kopaisin Ganibaeva, FINCA Kyrgyzstan
FINCA Kyrgyzstan client Kopaisin Ganibaeva

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Kopaisin Ganibaeva lost her job at a collective farm, like tens of thousands of other people in the mountainous and sparsely populated country of Kyrgyzstan. In order to help her husband support their family and put their two boys and two girls through school, she started her own farm near the village of Kadyrsha in the Karasuu region, planning to sell her produce in the local market.

 

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Charity Cheelo, FINCA Zambia
Charity Cheelo, FINCA Zambia Client

Since joining Finca in 2005, upon the advice of friends who were once Finca clients, Charity Cheelo has become the successful owner of her own tailor shop in Chilulu. The 37 year old mother of four used her first village banking loan of $63 to purchase the African fiber necessary to start her business. Currently, she plans to apply for a $315 loan, with which she intends to start new business dealings in the maize industry.

 

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Prossy Mukisa, FINCA Uganda
Prossy Mukisa, FINCA Uganda Client

Prossy Mukisa supports her four children and her parents with the income she earns from her music shop, where she rents out instruments and hires out musicians for parties and other functions in Kazinga. Prossy is determined to give her children an education so they can seek opportunities she was never able to after her father took her out of school and married her off at age 12 to collect a dowry for the family.

 

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Goharik Martirosyan, FINCA Armenia
FINCA Armenia Client Goharik Martirosyan

Goharik Martirosyan inherited her traditional Armenian ceramics business from her parents. She has always been very proud of the family business and has been devoted to teaching the skills of pottery and design to all of the family’s children to ensure that its folklore and traditions are passed on to the next generation. Goharik’s efforts have been successful because everyone in the family, including all the children, is a master of this delicate profession.

 

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Ingrid Johana Castillo, FINCA Guatemala
Ingrid Johana Castillo, FINCA Guatemala

Ingrid Johana Castillo was struggling for survival. Her small business selling dust rags and dish cloths in a nearby market did not provide enough income to support her mother and two daughters, and though she also worked preparing "paches"-small tamales made from potato dough, covered in sauce and wrapped in banana leaves-to sell, she could not make ends meet. 

 

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Sanilia Casseus, FINCA Haiti Client
FINCA Haiti Client Sanilia Casseus

Sanilia Casseus used her first FINCA loan of 8,000 gourdes (US$200) to buy an expanded variety of sundry products to start building her trade business and improving her life. She was in Port-au-Prince on the day of the earthquake. Fortunately, neither she nor her family was harmed, but she lost everything she had purchased, which represented a great part of the capital of her business. Soon after the earthquake, FINCA decided to forgive her debts and then provided her with a new loan so she could continue building her business.

 

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Ghazi Al-Khatib, FINCA Jordan
Ghazi Al-Khatib

December, 2011
For the third consecutive year, a FINCA Jordan client has been awarded the Citi Micro-Entrpreneur Award for best project in the Poverty Pockets category. Ghazi Al-Khatib of Deir Alla owns and operates a small masonry business where he specializes in recreating models of the historic site at Petra, as well as Roman columns, from artificial stones.

Ghazi Al-Khatib has always greatly respected the architectural wonders of the world, especially the historic wonder found in his homeland of Jordan – the monument at Petra.

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Tamara Shekimbaeva, FINCA Kyrgyzstan
FINCA Zambia Client

Like million of her fellow citizens of Kyrgyzstan and other former Soviet republics, the collapse of the Communist system eventually impacted Tamara Shekimbaeva, when she lost her job as a weaver in an old carpet factory when it closed and all of its workers were laid off. he 1990s were a particularly desperate period for many people in Kyrgyzstan, as jobs became increasingly scarce.

 

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Margarette Nivose, FINCA Haiti
FINCA Haiti Client Margarette Nivose

Margarette first became a FINCA client in 2006, because she wanted to give her three children a better life. Her big dream was that her children would go to school so they could have a better future. Back then, Margarette supported her children with a small business from her house in Aquin, selling meat, as well as some hardware items. But this business never made me much money, and she knew wanted to earn more money to pay for the schools. When Margarette heard about FINCA in a meeting at my church, she knew it could be her chance.

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Noel Marie Francoise, FINCA Haiti
FINCA Haiti Client Noel Marie Francoise

When the earthquake struck on January 12, 2010, Noel Marie’s house was cracked, but none of her family members were injured and she did not suffer any losses in the devastation. In the aftermath of the earthquake, her business has continued growing as she has added several lines of products, including soft drinks. Her life has steadily improved, thanks to her hard work and FINCA loans, and she has been able to pay the tuition fees for the children. As Noel Marie said, “I am very grateful for the trust that FINCA Haiti has placed in me.


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Florence Nabukenya, FINCA Uganda

Florence Nabukenya and her husband care for three children of their own as well as four orphans, who were left to them by Florence’s siblings when they died of HIV/AIDS. Before Florence became a FINCA client in 1993, the family of nine shared a single bedroom in a very small house in Namuwongo, a slum in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. Aside from all the children, Florence also had to provide for her mother, who suffers from high blood pressure and diabetes, and lives in a village in a rural area of Uganda.

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Chriselia Archill, FINCA Haiti

In Haiti, the western hemisphere’s poorest country—devastated by an earthquake January 12 and a series of aftershocks since—Chriselia Archill is raising four children, while also supporting her mother and four of her siblings, on earnings from her successful restaurant. The extended family lives in the seaport town of Les Cayes, about 140 miles southwest of Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince.

 

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Gulchekhra Sartbayeva, FINCA Kyrgyzstan
FINCA Kyrgyzstan Client

Gulchekhra and her brother leased a boutique in the commercial center in Bishkek, the capital city of Kyrgyzstan, where they sold shoes in 2004. Unfortunately, their business was not very successful and they were forced to close the shop when the center shut down. As an alternative source of income, Gulchekhra started to sew traditional dresses and suits for a children's dance troupe. Her friend introduced her to a FINCA Solidarity-Credit Group.

 

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Janet Mapulanga, FINCA Zambia
Janet Mapulanga, FINCA Zambia Client

After Janet Mapulanga’s husband passed away in 2007, she struggled to support her family of 3 children. While her oldest son, 20 years of age, was able to take in her youngest daughter after he married and left home, Janet attributes her ability to support herself and her second daughter to her loan with Finca. After joining a village banking group in M’tendere, 42 year old Janet was able to successfully open a charcoal stall with her K300,000 loan.

 

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Sabrije Tehaj, FINCA Kosovo
FINCA Kosovo Clients

Sabrije Tehaj lives with her husband, their four young children and her in-laws in a small home in the village of Kushnin in the Has region of Kosovo's Prizren Municipality. Her husband works in a bakery shop and Sabrije helps support the family with the earnings from her home-based business. A creative and nimble-fingered tailor, Sabrije designs and hand embroiders the ornate traditional wedding costumes of the Has region.

 

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Doña Blanca, FINCA Guatemala
FINCA Guatemala client and her kids

Doña Blanca, who lives in Barcenas, started a small bakery in hopes that she and her husband would be able to send their eight children to school and improve their diet.

Though her delicious bread became very popular, Doña Blanca lacked the working capital to expand the bakery and improve her family's income level.

 

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Evelyn Karata, FINCA Tanzania
FINCA Zambia Client

After her husband died in 1985, Evelyn Karata and her seven children fell into severe poverty. Evelyn began making and selling doughnuts, but this netted her just $1 a day. For five years, the family ate nothing but beans and ugali, a porridge made from corn flour. Her kids had to drop out of school, even her daughter who had been accepted to nursing school.

Evelyn found a job crushing stones into gravel for construction. She worked twelve hours a day, leaving the children in charge of doughnut sales.

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Gorreti Namubiru, FINCA Uganda

A few years after Gorreti Namubiru married at 17, her husband died from AIDS. Her in-laws took away everything she had and refused to help with her three children. Her neighbors and relatives treated her like an outcast.

Gorreti's mother - a FINCA Uganda client - was her only hope. She introduced Gorreti to her village banking group, "Kwa A." With a first loan of about $50, Gorreti bought maize, soy, and millet flour in bulk and sold it to retail shop owners.

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Martha Ngwinda, FINCA Malawi
Ana Osorio, Honduras

Martha Ngwinda often had to choose between feeding her children and sending them to school. To boost her income, she started a nursery school in her home. With her first FINCA loan of 1,000 kwacha (US $10), she bought cups and toys for the school. "It was the first time I had ever touched such a large sum of money."

Martha has now hired three neighbors to teach the 30 children at her school. She's using a 15,000 kwacha (US $120) loan to purchase books, toys and food.

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Nargiz Ohanyan, FINCA Armenia
FINCA Armenia Client

Nargiz Ohanyan became a FINCA client in 2003 to help build her fruit stand business in the local market. Back then, she had only one stand in the market and sold just Armenian fruits _ mostly apples and pears. Her first loan from FINCA was for $130. Thanks to her business skills and with the help of FINCA's loans, she has expanded to four stands offering a wider range of fruits, including quinces, pomegranates, and even citrus fruits imported from neighboring Georgia. As a measure of her growing success, she now has a $1,300 FINCA loan.

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Florence Lavaud, FINCA Haiti Client
FINCA Haiti Client Florence Lavaud

In the remote and destitute rural area of Haiti called Bondo Ti Savaan, two hours from the city of Miragoâne, 29-year old Florence Lavaud struggled for years to make a living from selling charcoal and working in the fields as a farm laborer. Despite her hard work, she could not even support herself, and had to rely on family members to help her survive.  Then in 2009, Florence heard about FINCA from a friend who invited her to join the Kris Sel Espwa (“Christ Only Hope”) Village Banking group. The members of the group, most of whom are small farmers who also sell fish and charcoal, are extraordinarily grateful for FINCA’s support. “

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Julio Cesar Reyes, FINCA Ecuador client
Ingrid Johana Castillo, FINCA Guatemala

Julio runs a woodworking business that involves his whole family. Julio and his family live in the village of San Antonio de Ibarra, a place famous for its families of skilled carpenters and its rich tradition of woodworking.The day we arrived to visit him, his sons were away in the market city of Otavalo, buying supplies of wood. 
 


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FINCA Solar Energy Project in Uganda
FINCA Uganda client Matilda Kayondo

In a recently concluded pilot test in Uganda, where just five percent of the population has access to electricity, FINCA provided micro-energy loans to 430 clients to finance solar home systems that offer a sustainable source of electricity for lighting and other uses. Our clients reported a number of benefits from the solar home systems (SHS), including improved respiratory health and cost savings (both resulting from reduced burning of kerosene for lighting) and also said that their children were able to study at night.

While we envisioned that the clients would use the SHS to power their homes, many clients said they used the SHS in their businesses. In a number of cases, clients were actually able to develop new business lines, such as cell phone charging services.

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Tamam Fraije, FINCA Jordan
FINCA Jordan client Tamam Fraije

FINCA Jordan client Tamam Fraije and her husband rent a farm in Deir Alla where they live with their four children. She and her husband run the farm and manage the sales and shipping of the fruit they grow to markets around Jordan. As their family grew, Tamam started to look for businesses she and her husband could run when they get older. She also wanted to try something a bit different from what her neighborhood is accustomed to.

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Gaspa Garidad, FINCA Haiti

When Gaspa first started selling her bread, she barely made enough in one day to purchase flour, oil and yeast to prepare another batch of dough for the next day, and could not afford the school fees for her children.

But when she heard about the FINCA Village Banking group Famn Vayant (“Valiant Women” in Creole), everything changed. She joined the group and used the proceeds of her first loan to buy flour and other supplies in bulk, increasing her profit.

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Hasmik Hovhannisyan, Armenia
FINCA Armenia Client

Hasmik Hovhannisyan lives alone in the declining Armenian city of Abovyan, about five miles from the country’s capital of Yerevan. Her husband died over a year ago, while she was suffering from a stomach ailment. Overnight, she became a childless widow without any source of income. Her brother helped her financially as much as he could, but she quickly realized that she needed to create her own source of income—and knew this would be a great challenge.

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Nicolasa Rodriguez, FINCA Nicaragua
FINCA Nicaragua client Nicolasa Carolina López Rodriguez

Nicolasa Carolina López Rodriguez, who lives in a small town on the outskirts of Managua, recalls the tremendous hardships she endured as a young single mother: “My husband abandoned me, leaving me with five young children. When one of my kids suffered severe burns in a fire, I realized I had to find a way to meet life’s challenges on my own.”

She started a business making and selling tortillas to support her family...

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Roqia, FINCA Afghanistan
FINCA Afghanistan Client

Roqia, a 20-year old woman who lives with her parents and six younger children in Sharak-e-Awlya in Mazar-e- Sharif in northern Afghanistan, tells her story in her own words: "...I have said good bye to poor days and am beginning to live a prosperous life with my family. I tell other Afghan women to get a loan from FINCA to live a good life. It is better to light a candle in a dark place rather than to insult the darkness. In the end, what I need to say comes from the bottom of my heart. THANK YOU FINCA!"

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Marie Nicole Moise-Deriscel, Haiti
FINCA Haiti Client: Nicole Moise-Deriscel

Marie Nicole joined the FINCA “La Foi de Job” (“Faith of Job” in Creole) Village Banking group in Cayes, Haiti, in 2000. Her first loan was for 2,000 Gourdes (US$50.00) to help her start a business so she could support her four children. Today, she is the proud owner of her own store selling cosmetics, clothing and other products.

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Sharifa, FINCA Afghanistan

Sharifa is 25 years old and married with two children. She has a three year old daughter and a five year old son. They live in Mazar, a village in the Badakhshan Province in northeastern Afghanistan.

Though her husband had a job as a driver, he didn’t earn enough money to provide the family with a steady diet. Sharifa heard about FINCA’s Village Banking loans from her neighbors and was interested to learn more...

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The Valiant Women of Haiti

The Village Banking group Famn Vayant ("Valiant Women" in Creole) meets in a church in the village of Massé, on the southwestern coast of Haiti. It began with 20 members, but its numbers swelled to 32 in the second cycle of loans.

When Imacula Eliza heard about Famn Vayant, she decided right away to join, knowing it would boost her business selling beans, rice, and sugar from her home. Imacula travels to the market in nearby Les Cayes by motorcycle, balancing large sacks of food on the back.

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Doña Hortensia, FINCA El Salvador
Ana Osorio, Honduras

In 1991, Hortensia Contreras Linares, aged 65, a mother of five, joined the "Divine Providence II" Village Bank, in the coffee-growing Department of Santa Ana. To her great surprise, the members elected her President. She turned down the job because - she was ashamed to admit - she could neither read nor write. The members persisted and again elected her President. This time she accepted.


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Nema Hamdan, FINCA Jordan

Nema Hamdan ALhmaiel Al-Jahran (Um Khaled) lives in the Al Talbiya Refugee Camp located in Zizeya with her husband and their seven children—five boys and two girls. To help support her family, the 54-year old Um Khaled has long run a small agricultural business, focused on raising and selling goats. She learned about FINCA Jordan soon after the program opened in the camp, and she quickly joined the Al-Nemaa (The Blessing) Village Bank group.


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Elizabeth García, FINCA Nicaragua
 

A single mother of three, Elizabeth García Callejas operates a small variety store, which she started with $185 in savings, on the east side of Managua. In 2000, she joined the Village Banking group Las Quatro Esquinas, or The Four Corners.

 

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Mailesi Chankonse, Zambia

In impoverished Zambia, where 86 percent of the population lives below the national poverty line and life expectancy is less than 39 years, 63-year old Mailesi Chankonse is raising three grandchildren on her own, after their parents—all three of Mailesi’s daughters and their husbands—succumbed to complications related to HIV/AIDS. Zambia suffers one of the world’s highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates. 

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Maria Lucia Potosi Ramirez, Ecuador

Maria Lucia Potosi Ramirez of San Jose de Chorlavi, Ecuador, is married and the mother of five children. She has spent her lifetime knitting beautiful wool sweaters and selling them in the local market. But the income she earned from selling her handiwork went toward providing daily necessities for her family, which never allowed her to save so she could buy wool in bulk at a lower cost. And, because she had no collateral, she couldn't access a loan from a traditional lending institution.

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Etibar Shahverdi, FINCA Azerbaijan
FINCA Azerbaijan client

Etibar Shahverdi is 43 years old. He was born in Ganja, and still lives in the city. He is married and has one daughter, age 11 and a son, age 9. His mother and sister live with him and depend on him for financial support. Etibar earns a living for his family working as a cashier for a nearby factory. In his spare time, he supplements his salary by building household furniture for sale.


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Norah Musoke, Uganda
FINCA Uganda Client

Milling Hope and Success from Sorrow and Adversity
At 58, Norah Musoke is considered a senior citizen in Uganda, where the average life expectancy is just 53. She has experienced enough tragedy and hardship for several generations of women, but—thanks to her extraordinary spirit and determination and with the help of FINCA loans—she has been overcome her past and today supports 18 dependants, employs over 30 people, and is a pillar of her community.

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Angelina Sanyemba: FINCA Zambia
FINCA Zambia Client

Angelina started her school business in 1997 with five pupils. So talented was she that she was invited to become a partner in a larger school in 1998. School enrollment grew to 220 students but when the partnership dissolved, Angelina was left without enough income to improve the facilities or rent a larger space.


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Ana Osorio, FINCA Honduras
Ana Osorio, Honduras

Ana Osorio and her husband have eight children ranging in age from 24 to five. Ana made cheese, which she sold from home, to supplement her husband's income from milling grains. But she could only buy milk and other raw materials in small quantities, so she cleared just 30-40 lempira ($1.59 - $2.12) in profit per day. The family could not afford meat. While Anna could send her children to school, she could not afford all their books and supplies.

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Fatima Mohammad Mussah, Afghanistan
Fatima Mohammad Mussah, Afghanistan

Fatima Mohammad Mussah currently lives in the village of Jebrayil in Herat Province, Afghanistan. Married, with ten children, she runs a small but successful tailoring business to help support her family.

In 1980, as fighting intensified between the Soviet invaders and the Afghan resistance fighters (mujahideen), and her family fled the Northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif with thousands of others for the safety of Iran.

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Givi Bakhia, FINCA Georgia
FINCA Georgia Client

Givi Bakhia worked as a government trade economist for 27 years, living with his family in Abkhazia until 1992. Givi lost three cousins, his house and his job to the Georgian civil war. His family, like many, fled the fighting to Tbilisi. Givi started selling batteries, flashlights, and pens on the street outside the Digomi Bazaar. Despite hard work, he could not save any money to invest in his business.


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Estorai, FINCA Afghanistan
Estorai, Afghanistan

When the Taliban seized power in 1996, Estorai, a young woman from Kabul, had managed to get just four years of formal schooling.

To help support her family, she started a home-based beauty parlor in secret. Estorai feared savage reprisals from the regime if she or her customers were discovered violating the ban against cosmetics. Some Afghan women had their fingertips chopped off for daring to wear nail polish.

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Margarita Garcia Gonzaga, Mexico
Margarita Garcia Gonzaga, MexicoMargarita Garcia Gonzaga: mother of two and food shop owner, Village Bank member in Mexico
Margarita Garcia Gonzaga lives in Jonacatepec outside Mexico City. In the late 1990s, Margarita and her family were broke: her husband was out of work, and it looked like they would have to take their two small children out of school because they could not keep up with the monthly tuition payments. Margarita had a microbusiness, purchasing wholesale food items and reselling them to her neighbors, but her income was too small to support the family. Then FINCA Mexico began forming village banking groups in her community.
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Marie-Claire Bunga, FINCA DRC
Marie-Claire Bunga, DR Congo

A single mother of seven, Marie-Claire Bunga wanted to boost her income so she could improve her children's diet, send them to school and afford medical care for them. She used her talents as a singer to earn money to start a small shop. She sells a variety of baked goods and fresh foods and still sings in her free time. She joined FINCA's 40-member Saint-Beno”t village bank group and used her $80 loan to expand her business.

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Rabia Urokova, Tajikistan
Rabia Urokova, TajikistanRabia Urokova, chair and founder of the Village Bank member in Tajikistan
Rabia Urokova works as a teacher in Kurgan Tube in Tajikistan, but her teaching salary alone does not cover educational expenses for her five daughters. To earn extra income, Rabia started a business in the central market selling plov, a national rice dish.

Rabia heard about FINCA’s financial services and immediately recognized an opportunity; she organized a village banking group with five entrepreneurs from the same market...

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Irina Shmakova, FINCA Russia
FINCA Russia Client 

Irina Shmakova and her family started a small farm five years ago about ten miles outside the city of Tomsk. They raise cattle, pigs, chickens, and other farm animals. Irina sells her farm products in the Tomsk Central Market and to a number of cafes and restaurants. During the 1999 Kosovo War, Besim and his family fled to Albania as refugees.


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Sherida Mkama, Tanzania
Sherida Mkama, TanzaniaSherida Mkama: mother of 10 and owner of a produce business, Village Bank member in Tanzania
Sherida Mkama lives with her husband and their 10 children in Kamanga, Tanzania. Sherida began selling tomatoes in the local market in 1995 to support her family. While her business was good, all the money she made went toward tuition and uniform fees that Tanzanian families must pay for their children’s schooling, so she was never able to improve or expand her business.

Trapped in the cycle of poverty, Sherida had no reason to hope that things could get better. Her family’s fate seemed written by forces beyond her control.
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