Marilou Largo (33) and her husband Mario (38) live in the suburbs of Cebu, Philippines. The couple has been blessed with three children: Mae Flor now in her first year of high school, Genaro age 11, and Mark Kevin age 8.
Mario works as a bus driver for a multi-purpose cooperative and earns enough money to put food on the table. However, Marilou admits that her husband’s salary is insufficient in order to send her children to school. At times, they sacrifice the weekly budget for meals in order to meet their children’s needs school supplies and allowances. Furthermore, at times Mario needs to take night shifts that will take him away for several days. She adds that it worries her if he cannot come home at night.
Although Marilou only finished secondary school, that did not hinder her from working to sustain herself and her family. Eventually, Marilou opened her own eatery. Using her own kitchen tools and finery she opened a small cafeteria in her backyard. With meals ranging from hot soups to appetizers, she has been able to help support her family.
Mario plays a role as well in her project, he uses part of his salary and invests it in expanding the eatery. Though Marilou's business has progressed, they have had a hard time paying for their daily expenses like water and electric bills, and their children’s school expenses. The couple has tried other means to borrow money as capital for the eatery. Sometimes they had to pay 20% interest monthly making repayments difficult. They have also tried contacting the cooperative where Mario works, however they are afraid Mario might lose his job if they cannot make a payment.
Marilou fears losing the business that she opened. With its strategic location and her good cooking, people enjoy her eatery. She would like to expand but it has been difficult to find capital. She knows that either way she has sacrifices to make. Marilou says that additional capital will really make a difference and will ensure sustainability and expansion in their business. She hopes to provide her kids with proper education and support their needs.