Self-Help: Women's Micro-credit Loans in Nicaragua

Jul 31, 2014

Training and strategy help grow Martha's business

Martha selling her products at the local market
Martha selling her products at the local market

Beneficiary from El Espabel - Melchorita

Martha is a 61-year-old woman working with Self-Help’s micro-credit program. She and her husband, Alfredo, have seven children. Three of them are grown and have left the home. Four children, age nine to 21-years-old, are still living at home.

Martha uses her loan to purchase a variety of products such as corn, beans, avocados, eggs, zucchini, coconuts, and dairy products among others to sell for a profit at the local market in San Carlos.

Martha is also applying the training she and her children received from the micro-credit program to her business. The family is gardening and using an irrigation system to grow vegetables, hot peppers, papaya, passion fruits, and zucchini among others. Martha is saving money and time as she no longer needs to visit other communities to purchase these products. Instead, she is harvesting her own produce to sell fresh at the market. Martha also received Self-Help’s training on pickling vegetables and making jams and marmaldes. If in any case she can’t sell her fresh produce, she can add value to the unsold products by using them in marmalades, jellies or by pickling the vegetables. These products can also be sold at market for a profit.

In addition, Martha learned basic bookkeeping skills through Self-Help’s trainings. She now understands when she is making a profit, whereas before the training she didn’t keep records and know if she was earning money or losing money. Martha knows that she will expend about 600 cordobas, around $23, per week on the value of her products to be purchased. Plus she is including the expenses for her personal needs such as meals and transportation. This was not something she calculated into her expenses before. Now Martha can see the profit and with it she helps her husband with the upkeep on the house and contributes to their children’s education.

Martha said she is really thankful for Self-Help International and the donors for allowing her the opportunity to learn new skills and providing her with a strategy to grow personally as well as economically. She is pleased that her family has also learned to contribute to her business through caring for their garden and irrigation system.

Your support has provided Martha, and others like her, with the proper tools to grow her small business and include her family in its success. Thank you for your generous donation.

Martha and her daughter in their garden
Martha and her daughter in their garden


Apr 30, 2014

Tomasa grows her business and serves her community

Tomasa stands in her store
Tomasa stands in her store

Tomasa, 52, is originally from Carazo, but currently lives in the community of Melchorita. She has six children, one of which still lives at home with her and her husband, Juan de Dios Pérez. Tomasa bakes bread that she sells to the community every Saturday at her small grocery store. As a farmer Juan harvests rice, corn, beans, plantain, and cassava on his own piece of land.

In December 2009, Tomasa received her first loan of almost $240 and paid the loan off within 11 months. In 2012, she received her second loan of $100. She paid it off in four months. In the same year, she received a second loan for $127 in which she paid off in six months. Every loan Tomasa received was used towards improving the conditions of her grocery store, hiring more staff, and purchasing supplies that her costumers and the community needed.

This year, Tomasa received her fourth loan of $130 that she plans to pay off in six months. She is really thankful for Self-Help International’s support. The loans have allowed her to continue purchasing and selling products to the community. With her profits, Tomasa has been able to purchase a Movistar phone to keep in touch with her family in Carazo.

Because of your generosity to Self-Help International, Tomasa and other members of the Melchorita community are able to purchase the necessary supplies to improve their quality of life. Thank you for your support.

Tomasa has a variety of products for sale.
Tomasa has a variety of products for sale.


Feb 4, 2014

Angelica provides for family

Angelica, far left, holding her daughter.
Angelica, far left, holding her daughter.

Angélica is 23-years-old and lives in Quinta Lidia. She and her husband are the proud parents of a  3-year-old little girl. They are both in the business of raising and selling pigs. The family does not have their own property, so they keep the pigs on Gustavo’s mother’s farm, so the three of them are in the pig business together.

Angélica received her first loan of $50 in April 2012 and paid it back by August of the same year. She used the loan to purchase food for the pigs. In the same month she received her second loan of $75, to be used for the same purpose, and she paid it back in February 2013.

Right now the family is not taking out more loans because Angélica just gave birth to her second child and they didn’t want to have any debts as they are unsure how everything will go. They hope that as soon as her second child gets bigger they can ask for another loan in order to grow their the pig-raising business.

Angélica, her husband and mother-in-law said that the loan given to them has helped a lot in purchasing more food to keep their pigs big and healthy, allowing them to make a better profit.

Because of your generosity, Angélica and other women in Nicaragua are able to purchase the supplies they need to grow their businesses and support their families. Thank you for your support and donations to Self-Help International.

Some of the pigs Angelica
Some of the pigs Angelica's family raises


Nov 5, 2013

New project office works to grow the program

Training in business management
Training in business management

In August Yolanda Fletes Rosales joined Self -Help International the Micro-Credit Program Coordinator. She started out by meeting with 13 individual beneficiaries spread amongst three communities. Two women from Quinta Lidia, six women from Las Azucenas and five women from Melchorita. Yolanda visits these women regularly to learn more about them, their needs and expectation from Self-Help as an organization. She also began working to establish new groups by going door-to-door in each of the above-mentioned communities above plus new ones. She held meetings and intensive training sessions on business management, health and nutrition. As of October 2013 there are seven new groups of women benefiting from SHI’s micro-credit program.  There is a group of 9 women in Cruz Verde. Three groups of five women in Las Azucenas. A group of five women in Quinta Lidia. A group from of five women in Santa Isabel. And a group of five women from Espabel (Melchorita).

Yolanda hopes to integrate the individual women with groups. And, there are plans for  two more groups in the communities of Las Azucena and Melchoron. Her new strategy for the  program is to train women in the following
topics before distributing loans: Business Management and Creativity, Entrepreneurship, Business Plans, Health, Nutrition, and Hygiene.

Your continued support will help Yolanda to continue to grow the micro-credit program and efficiently train new beneficiaries. Because of your generosity Self-Help International is able to help many women through training and loans.

Heliodora Cardoza, a beneficiary, baking bread
Heliodora Cardoza, a beneficiary, baking bread
Aug 2, 2013

Blanca is head of the house

Blanca in her store
Blanca in her store

Blanca Rosa García Martínez is 24-years-old. She lives in Las Azucenas and has two children; one boy, 4-year-old Heyde, and one girl, 1-year-old Kelly. Blanca’s husband, Douglas, does not have a permanent job but works in the field whenever someone asks him to do so.

Blanca has a small store where she sells clothes and shoes and her clients are teachers and Orange field workers from El San Juan.

Self-Help International gave Blanca her first loan of $50 in May 2012. She used the money to purchase more supplies for her store and was able to pay it off at the end of August 2012. Later that month Self-Help gave Blanca her second loan of $75. She had hoped to use this loan to buy supplies as well, but unfortunately one of her children became ill so she used the money to purchase the medicine for him. She finished paying her loan in February and in the same month we gave her a third loan of $100 which Blanca plans to use to purchase supplies for her store.

“I am the head of our house and I really appreciate all the support,” said Blanca Rosa of Self-Help International.

Because of your generosity, Blanca is able to earn more profit in her store and support her family. Thank you for your support of Blanca Rosa and many other women like her.

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Project Leader

Jori Wade Booth

Waverly, IA United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Self-Help: Women's Micro-credit Loans in Nicaragua