Economic Self-Help: Rural Micro-Credit

by Adelante Foundation of Honduras

Read the microcredit success story of Mayra Guervera!

A voodoo curse is yet one more challenge Adelante client Mayra Esperanza Guevera feels she has had to overcome in her struggle to build a better life. "My business was growing and growing and then about a year ago my clients simply stopped coming to my store. The rumor was that someone put a voodoo curse on my business." Hondurans aren't known to be superstitious but many, if not most, believe in black magic. Mayra herself isn't sure if her business was cursed, but she is convinced that because of the success she has achieved as an Adelante client a number of people are envious - and would not mind seeing her slip.

Fortunately, for the six months her business was slow she maintained her resolve and managed to pay back her ninth Adelante loan. Now Mayra boasts of an achievement few others can claim: "I no longer live in poverty!"

It's appropriate that Mayra lives in the rural village of El Esfuerzo which translates to "Effort". It took five hard years of grit and determination but she has achieved what we hope all our clients can achieve - going from living in a mud house to one of concrete. From a life when she couldn't afford junior high school for her daughter to a life when she can. From a life when she and her family lived from hand-to-mouth and the slightest emergency created a crisis to one of knowing she and her children have enough to eat. From a life of constant fear to one of hope.

It started with a $35 loan...

Mayra's relationship with Adelante began in 2001 with an initial loan of $35. She had never had her own business before, so, like many clients, she used the loan to invest in what she had the most confidence in: her cooking. She bought ingredients for small meat pies, tortillas and other inexpensive food snacks that she sold in front of the local elementary school. With her third loan of $75 she invested the money in a used refrigerator so she could sell cold drinks and perishable food products. With her fourth loan for $125 she bought the inventory of another Adelante client who was selling her small food store and moved the inventory to her mud home. By the seventh loan she had been able to build a three room concrete house and used this loan to build an extension to accommodate her small store.

...and grew into a $800 loan.

Because of Mayra's successful track record of Adelante loans and greater capital needs to fund the continued growth of her store, she is one of the first clients to have graduated to Adelante's new "Individual Loan" program. Up until this program, all Adelante loans were made to groups of women who vouched to repay the loan should one member of their group fail. However, when a successful client like Mayra needs a $800 or larger loan, it's not practical for other women who have much smaller loans to vouch to repay her loan should she default. For this reason Adelante is now providing individual loans to clients who have proven their ability to repay and have businesses with greater capital needs. Individual loans will range up to several thousands of dollars, but most will be one to four thousand dollars.

Not only does Mayra stand out as a savvy business woman, she is known within her community and by Adelante staff as an exceedingly giving person. For twenty years she has been a health department volunteer who takes blood samples when someone in her village suspects they have malaria. The term "volunteer" is a euphemism because more often than not she isn't reimbursed for her expenses. And at an age when most Honduran women are grandmothers, she recently adopted a three year old girl who needed a home. And as if she weren't doing enough, she has been selected by her assembly to be their Community Educator (click here to see the December 2005 newsletter about our new Community Educator program).

"I'm very thankful for the assistance I get from Adelante. I've recruited a lot of women to Adelante and I tell them that what Adelante teaches us is true: If you invest 100% of your loan in your business you will work your way out of poverty."


About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Adelante Foundation of Honduras

Location: Miami, FL - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Adelante Foundation of Honduras

Funded Project!

Thanks to 38 donors like you, a total of $10,520 was raised for this project on GlobalGiving. Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

Still want to help?

Find another project in Honduras or in Economic Development that needs your help.
Find a Project

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.