Some might say that the La Malaga community, located high up in the mountains outside of Hato Mayor, DR, would be no place for a young entrepreneur to open a business and set up a life. But for Julio, there was never much of a choice. Growing up in an extremely remote area can be quite difficult, especially for those who are already vulnerable due to social status or poverty. Instead of continuing to live day by day and struggling to make ends meet, Julio decided to make his own path with some help from Esperanza.
Julio, 26, was born and raised in this community; it has been his home for his entire life. But when it came time for him to move out of his parents’ home, his hometown did not have much to offer. However, he had heard of Esperanza International, an organization that would lend to those with no credit and no way to receive a formal loan, and guide them in growing their own business. Esperanza had branch officers that were going out into these small mountain communities and creating loan groups and teaching lessons about good business habits and walking in faith. Julio, who was 21 at the time, approached the loan officer in order to inquire about receiving a loan to get his “colmado”, a small convenience store, up and running. Unfortunately, at the time Julio did not meet some of the basic requirements Esperanza had to join a group loan. This did not discourage him but gave him something to work towards. He had to close his shop for a while and work to increase the money he had available. But a few years later, with a more established business and sufficient funds, Julio was able to join a loan group with a few other people in his community.
He has now been with Esperanza for a little over a year and has already seen the benefits of Esperanza’s holistic approach to poverty alleviation. First, he showed us his “colmado” and the merchandise he has been able to purchase, he then led us across his yard to a small, tin shack full of automotive supplies where he has been repairing motorcycles for people in his community. He was excited about this new side of his business, and so were we because it is one of the only repair shops in the remote mountain region where he lives. Finally, he showed us a home he is building next to both of these businesses that will be made of cinderblocks and metal roofing, a major upgrade from his current home of wood and a tin roof. The savings account that Esperanza opens for its associates has made this new home possible. And during our meeting, Julio even inquired about the home loans Esperanza offers to its associates in order to improve or build their homes.
Julio told us that everything he has he owes to the Lord and that Esperanza was a blessing brought into his life when he truly needed it. His plan for the future is to remain in his community and grow his business to provide for himself and assist his neighbors. Our mission is to provide opportunities to thrive to those in the most vulnerable and difficult situations, like Julio and others in his community, and to spread the love of Christ.
This post was written by our summer intern, Jensen. Follow along this summer as our interns write about their experiences in seeing whole-life transformation take place in the lives of our associates and their families.
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Microfinance is a banking service which exists to serve the material poor in emerging economies. Through this lending process, loans are distributed to entrepreneurs for investment in their business.learn more