Microloans Help Guatemalan Women Reach Their Goals

Dec 9, 2010

Women Rebuild Projects After Devastating Losses

New blackberry crops planted after Agatha
New blackberry crops planted after Agatha

I recently returned from Guatemala where I had the opportunity to meet with many of the women who lost their microcredit projects to Tropical Storm Agatha.  The resiliency of these women never ceases to amaze me.  They have replanted their crops and are tending to them with great care.  Soon they will have blackberries, green beans and potatoes that they will either sell in the local market or export through an intermediary.  

We know that when women have access to income, they invest it in their families and villages.   In the face of adversity, women persevere so that they can put healthier food on their tables, take their children to the doctor when they are ill and send them to school. 

We are all transformed when women come together to make the world a better place!  Thank you for caring about the economic development of women in developing countries.  May you and yours have a happy holiday season!

Women meet to discuss how to rebuild projects
Women meet to discuss how to rebuild projects
Sep 20, 2010

Projects Affected by Worst Weather in 60 Years

Concepción is thankful for emergency provisions.
Concepción is thankful for emergency provisions.

This has been the rainiest season in Guatemala in 60 years. The torrential rains have caused mudslides, rockslides and complete washouts of rural communities. Homes have been destroyed, automobiles have been buried under tons of mud and crops have been lost.

Unfortunately, most of MayaWorks' food projects have been lost to flooding. Currently, we are assessing the damages but we are confident that our loan recipients will bounce back from this setback. To aid our communities in getting back on their feet, MayaWorks has distributed well over 4,000 pounds of rice, beans, cereal, sugar and corn to community residents. Families, whose homes were damaged by the storm, will receive financial assistance to repair walls, roofs and floors. They will also receive aid to replace personal property lost in the terrible storms.

And, of course, we will stand by our families when they are ready to replant their fields!

Jul 27, 2010

Projects Thrive Despite Tropical Storm Agatha

Berries are nearly ready to be harvested!
Berries are nearly ready to be harvested!

While MayaWorks artisans were deeply affected by Tropical Storm Agatha, thankfully they are unharmed and no microcredit projects were lost!

In the weeks following the devastating storm, MayaWorks distributed more than 4,000 lbs of emergency food supplies and is currently helping artisans rebuild damaged homes and replant crops. Despite setbacks caused by Tropical Storm Agatha, artisans are eager to pursue income generating projects and are looking forward to the opportunity to apply for low interest loans to make their dreams a reality.

Consistent with MayaWorks’ mission to provide a steady income for artisans, the microcredit program exists to help women develop as entrepreneurs by managing other income generating projects. Artisans must complete a loan application that includes a simple business plan. The business plan outlines all expected expenses, a time line of the income generating project and the expected profits. It also includes a simple analysis of marketing and selling expenses. If the project will result in a profit for the artisan, the project will be approved and the artisan will receive her loan within one week of approval and after attending an initial financial management workshop.

During the course of their project, artisans receive quarterly site visits by the Program Coordinator to evaluate how the project is progressing. If an artisan is experiencing difficulty with the project, she will receive technical support from staff members and will be visited more often. Artisans must also attend periodic business trainings to be eligible for further loans.

Women have created a range of interesting projects from crop cultivation to a stuffed animal business to natural home cleaning supplies.

Pigs are growing nicely in preparation for market!
Pigs are growing nicely in preparation for market!
Catalina has readied her field for planting!
Catalina has readied her field for planting!
May 10, 2010

MayaWorks funds four new microloans in April

In April MayaWorks funded four new projects in the community of San Marcos La Laguna on the shores of Lake Atitlan. One woman is expanding her corner store to include more products her customers need. Another entreprenuer will use her microloan to make aromatic cleaning products for the home. Finally, two entrepreneurs are starting a weaving business. They plan to weave huipiles, the beautiful blouses that Guatemalan women wear as part of their "traje". Each huipil can take several months to weave. Because more women are working outside of their home, many do not have the time to weave their own huipiles and so they hire master weavers to weave their clothes.

Microloans give women entrepreneurs the opportunity to work from home allowing them to care for their families while earning an income. A big thank you to GlobalGiving donors who help make MayaWorks microcredit program possible!


Mar 27, 2010

Eight new microloans funded!

Francisca proudly shows off her blackberries
Francisca proudly shows off her blackberries

Thanks to the generosity of GlobalGiving donors MayaWorks has funded eight new projects since the beginning of the year! The projects are very creative and promise a healthy return on investment.

Women are selling milk obtained by the purchase of a dairy cow and are raising baby pigs to be sold at market for meat. Others have planted crops such as peas, blackberries and potatoes which will be sold to exporters. One entrepreneur has opened a small stuffed animal business!

There's no limit to what women can do when given the tools to succeed!

Arcadia's happy with the income from her dairy cow

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Berwyn, IL, United States

Project Leader

Jeannie Balanda

Executive Director
Chicago, Illinois United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Microloans Help Guatemalan Women Reach Their Goals