SCF made $37, 500 debt investment into FINCA International in July of 2011. These funds were then immediately disbursed to FINCA Haiti, one of the 21 FINCA affiliate organizations worldwide (per SCF’s loan stipulations). These funds are to be leveraged to fund microfinance business loans to start-up and on-going businesses located throughout Haiti.
The Valiant Women of Haiti
The Village Banking group Famn Vayant (“Valiant Women” in Creole) meets in a church in the village of Massé, on the southwestern coast of Haiti. It began with 20 members, but its numbers swelled to 32 in the second cycle of loans.
When Imacula Eliza heard about Famn Vayant, she decided right away to join, knowing it would boost her business selling beans, rice, and sugar from her home. Imacula travels to the market in nearby Les Cayes by motorcycle, balancing large sacks of food on the back. Her loans from FINCA helped her to purchase the goods she sells at a much better price than she could before.
Deci Marie Bien, a mother of four, has sold flour, sugar, bread, and oil from a roadside table for 10 years. With FINCA capital, she was able to purchase her inventory at wholesale, increase her profit margin, and set aside savings. Her husband farms corn, potatoes, and rice for the family’s consumption, so Deci has been able to reinvest much of her earnings in her business.
Gaspa Garidad is in her second loan cycle, managing a $140 loan. She bakes and sells bread wholesale from her house. In a country where the majority attempt to survive on less than $1 a day, Gaspa sets aside $6 per week in savings. She looks forward to even larger loans from FINCA to help her continue expanding her business and her income.
“My name is Bertride Beaufils. I am 40 years old and live in Fonfred, a locality of Les Cayes. I grew up with my mother who was retailing fizzy [sodas], and my father was retailing cigarettes and alcohol. My parents put me at school, but when I was in
secondary school, they became unable to continue paying for me. They decided to pay for me to go to a dressmaker center.
“Because of a disease, I am unable to practice this profession, so I decided to start running a business in order to be independent. Today, I am retailing groceries. I purchase in the public market of Les Cayes, and retail at home every day from 6am to 10pm.
“I heard talk about FINCA a long time ago from a friend who was a member. Since my first experience with FINCA, I appreciated the welcome I received from the credit officer. About one year ago, I decided to take a loan. I received a first loan of $200 and invested it in my business. Today, I am managing a larger, third loan.
“During a period, I was in the stew with the owner of a house that I rent, so I decided to own my house. My savings in my FINCA group was really useful for me in this time. I am not married and do not have children, so today I am focused on my business, and want to increase it more and more, thanks to FINCA loans.”
Margarette Nivose – Women of Action
I first became a FINCA client over five years ago, because I wanted to give my three children to have a better life. My big dream was for my children to go to school because I knew that was the only way they could have a better future. Back then, I supported my children with just a small business from my house in Aquin, selling meat, as well as some tools and other hardware items. But this business never made me much money, and I knew I needed to earn more to pay for their schools. When I heard about FINCA in a meeting at my church, I knew this could be my chance. I got together with some neighbors, and we formed the Fanm Askyon (“Women of Action”) FINCA Village Banking group.
I took my first FINCA loan in February 2005 for 4,000 gourdes (US$105), and used it to buy cosmetics in Port-au-Prince to sell in Aquin. I was very successful with my little business, so FINCA increased my second loan amount to 8,000 gdes (US$210). I used this loan to buy cosmetics in bulk from a wholesaler. This allowed me to save money, have an inventory, and get more cosmetic products than I normally sold. When I did this, my profits grew every month.
As my business continued growing, FINCA suggested in 2006 that I move up to a FINCA small group loan. My friends in Fanm Askyon wanted me to stay, but they were happy to welcome my daughter Rachelle in my place. Rachelle stayed with the group for two years, and became the treasurer. She has since left to go to school in Port-au-Prince. Although my family is no longer part of Fanm Askyon, the group still has its weekly meetings at my home in Aquin, and the members call me “Mother Mountain,” because of my success. I talk to the members about how to build their own businesses.
I was so afraid the first time I borrowed $100. I would have never thought that I was going to be able to borrow and repay this much money. But I did and, through the years, I was able to borrow more money. Every time, I felt less afraid and more confident, and I found that I was able to pay back every loan. My most recent loan was 120,000 gourdes (US$2,962), with a nine month repayment period. I’m using this loan to continue expanding my cosmetics and hardware businesses, to buy equipment for the butcher shop I opened not too long ago, and to pay for a motorcycle and driver’s salary, which is a new business I just started.
Thanks to FINCA, I was able to succeed in all my little businesses. I have been able to buy a small house in Port-au-Prince where my children live, so they can go to a better high school than the one we have in Aquin. I visit them whenever I can, usually when I have to buy merchandise in Port-au-Prince. My daughter Rachelle is now in the eleventh grade; my son Enoch is in tenth, and my daughter Ruth is in the ninth grade. I used some of my earnings to buy a small plot of land in Aquin and two cows. I am even saving to pay for Rachelle’s wedding.
Thankfully, my children and I all survived the earthquake, but our house in Port-au-Prince was destroyed, as was my poor father’s house in l’Azile. My dream now is to build another house in Port-au-Prince for the children, so they can finish high school and then go on to university.
Aside from the money I have earned over the years, I have found that running and growing my businesses has been very fulfilling for me. I am proud to be a FINCA client, and I love what FINCA has done for me and for other Haitian women. FINCA has helped me make a much better life for my family, and give my children a chance for a better future. Thank you FINCA!
Since her earliest days, Rosena Lafleur has faced extraordinary challenges with dignity and hope. Rosena grew up in poverty and never learned to read or write. She dropped out of school at age ten because her parents could not afford the school fees and her father wanted her to work to help support the family.
Rosena’s mother taught her how to run a small business and she started selling fish on the street. Today, Rosena sells a variety of drinks in front of the hospital on weekdays and on the beach on weekends.
When Rosena was still a teenager, her father forced her to have a relationship with an older man who was “generous” with him. After Rosena became pregnant, the man left to go live in the neighboring Dominican Republic.
Some years later, she fell in love with a young man from the neighborhood and now lives with him in a civil union. Today, she is a happy mother of three children: two girls and a boy who are 6 years, 3 years and 8 months old. The two eldest are already in school. “I will do my best to ensure they get more knowledge than me and—if God gives me life—I want them all to finish school. I want another standard of life for my children. Life is too difficult for illiterate people.”
Recently, a friend invited Rosena to join the FINCA Lavi Miyo (“Better Life”) Village Banking group. With her first loan of $200, Rosena increased the quantity of beverages she purchases for resale and, because of her larger order, was allowed to buy them at a discounted price. “I think that my business will increase rapidly and it will be easier for me to reach my goals. I say thank you to FINCA!”
Sanilia Casseus – Women Deciders
For several years, 53-year old Sanilia Casseus had run a small business in the market in Marigot selling a variety of goods to help support her husband and their seven children. She was invited to join FINCA one day by a FINCA supervisor and joined the Fanm k’ap deside (“Women Deciders”) Village Banking group in Jacmel in July 2008. Sanilia used her first FINCA loan of 8,000 gourdes (US$200) to buy an expanded variety of sundry products to start building her business and improving her life.
She was in Port-au-Prince, where she went to buy new goods using the proceeds of her loan, on the day of the earthquake. Fortunately, neither she nor her family was harmed, but she lost everything she had purchased, which represented a great part of the capital of her business.
For her, being a FINCA client has been a blessing. Soon after the earthquake, FINCA decided to forgive her debts and then provided her with a new loan so she could continue building her business. Her most recent loan through the Fanm k’ap deside group was for 13,000 gourdes (US$325). With the growth of her business, Sanilia can now ensure that her family has enough to eat and she can afford to pay the tuition for her children’s school without any problems. She is proud of her relationship with FINCA and she enjoys sharing her experience with FINCA with other people.
Gaspa Garidad – Valiant Women
More than half of the people in Haiti struggle to survive on $1 a day and the country is just months removed from deadly food riots. Yet, the women of FINCA’s Village Banking group Famn Vayant (“Valiant Women” in Creole) are on the road to self-sufficiency. They are able to feed their children, start lifting their families out of poverty, and some can even save a little for the future.
The Famn Vayant group meets in a church in the village of Massé, on the southwestern coast of Haiti. It began with 20 members, but its numbers swelled to 32 in the second cycle of loans.
Gaspa Garidad is one the Famn Vayant Village Banking Group members. She learned to bake bread in her Haitian village as a girl, but she never imagined that one day she would use this simple skill to support herself and her six children. After rising early each morning to bake, she carries a basket-full of her bread on her head, selling loaves as she walks along the road and in the marketplace.
When Gaspa first started selling her bread, she barely made enough in one day to purchase flour, oil and yeast to prepare another batch of dough for the next day, and could not afford the school fees for her children.
But when she heard about the FINCA Village Banking group Famn Vayant (“Valiant Women” in Creole), everything changed. She joined the group and used the proceeds of her first loan to buy flour and other supplies in bulk, increasing her profit.
Gaspa now manages a $140 FINCA loan. She bakes and sells bread wholesale from her house. She can afford to pay for her children’s school fees, and is confident that they will have a better life tomorrow thanks to their education. In a country where the majority attempt to survive on less than $1 a day, Gaspa is setting aside $6 per week in savings for her family’s future. Gaspa looks forward to even larger loans from FINCA to help her continue expanding her business and her income.
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