A Mother’s Hope

Gracielaif you ever find yourself driving just northeast of Mexico City and in need of a snack, stop by Santa Maria and look for Yolanda’s small store. She calls it “Mi Esperanza,” My Hope, after her mother-in-law, who is named Esperanza, loaned her money four years ago to open the place. Yolanda sells drinks, water, an array of chips and candy, and basic household items. She’s got an arcade game in need of repair, and a telephone for hire.

Tired of running her business at a snail’s pace and determined to put her children through college, Yolanda took her first formal loan six months ago with Pro Mujer, one of Freedom from Hunger’s partner organizations in Mexico. She borrowed US$164 to build up her inventory, has already paid off that first loan, and just borrowed another US$287. Yolanda’s esperanza? To sell more products and draw more customers through her door. People come down the hill behind her house, and from the surrounding neighborhood. She finds that the more items she stocks, the busier her business gets.

Yolanda reviews the books for her businessJoining Freedom from Hunger’s Credit with Education program, Yolanda soon began to save, since each week she is required to deposit a small amount of her profit into her own savings while also making a payment on her loan. Her next investment will be in the education of her sons, Francisco, Luis and Eric, smart guys doing well in high school and grade school now, according to Yolanda, and ready for college after that.

 Toward evening, men arrive in trucks to restock her supply of potato chips, snacks and drinks. “I learn a lot in the program’s workshops,” notes Yolanda. She now knows how to keep track of earnings and spending, and how to save money for emergencies. nd what she learns in her Credit Association group, “I A share with my children,” Yolanda notes, to help them prepare for their own professional future. Just like Mom.

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