Sebastiana (Peru)

Sebastiana’s Story of Hope 

Sebastiana is caring for her children as best she can, bravely facing hardships that would probably bring the rest of us to our knees. Sebastiana has known nothing but poverty her entire life. She lost her husband a few years ago and was left alone to care for her nine children in the difficult environment of the high Peruvian plains. And yet she has hope for the future.

When Credit with Education arrived in Sebastiana’s remote village in the high Andes, she was eager to join. With her very first loan, Sebastiana began to feel hope. It was the first time someone trusted her with a loan to build a business, and the first time she learned about child nutrition and how to prevent illness.

Sebastiana is 42 years old but looks older. Having lost her husband a few years ago, she says, "I alone have to see to all the problems of my children."

When she learned about Credit with Education, she knew the opportunity was special. “Not for the loan,” says Sebastiana, "but for the training." It took a great deal of courage for her to take her first loan. “I knew others with loans, but I never dared to become involved," she said. "I worked with what I had." It was the training-and the support of other women in her village-that made her believe that she could productively use a loan.

Sebastiana farms a small plot of land with the help of her older children.Sebastiana’s loan is 200 soles, or about $64, and she is using the money to raise pigs. She plans to sell the pigs in the market of a large village several miles away-a distance she will travel on foot, pigs in tow, when the time comes. She has plans to grow her livestock business. "I want my business to grow bigger to be able to support my big family. It’s difficult because it’s hard to buy groceries, rice, pasta. My kids sometimes get sick."

To supplement the food she buys, Sebastiana farms a small plot of land with the help of her older children. "It’s impossible for us to go without food. We work hard in our field. We sow corn, beans, peas, wheat, lentils, and with this, we are able to feed ourselves. We save food for times when there’s no harvest."

Through her participation in Credit with Education, Sebastiana hopes her children will have a better life than she has had. Little Aurelio, Sebastiana’s youngest child, stands close to his mother. She smiles and bends to hug him. “I want to get whatever I can for my children," says Sebastiana. "A little bit of land; the land helps sustain families—and for them to have a place to live—but more than anything, the land."