Paraguayan woman finds relief from extreme poverty
When Estela’s small business burnt down in the market, she thought her life was over.
Seeing that she was a mother of ten and the sole provider in her home, Estela was left with no other option than to turn to a loan shark that charged her 500% interest to rebuild her small grocery store.
This time Estela ran it out of her home, selling product to her neighbors and surrounding community. However, due to the high interest rate she was paying every month, she was unable to get ahead.
With the overwhelming threat of either being physically beaten or losing her home and possessions, Estela felt trapped and enslaved to the loan shark.
But, this all changed when she heard about Diaconia ADP, a non-profit organization formed in 2010 under the umbrella of “Transforming Paraguay Together” that provides micro-credit and training programs to the poor who live in over 300 squatter zones across Paraguay.
A pastor’s wife from a local church came to Estela’s home and invited her to come meet a group of woman who were interested in starting and/or growing their micro-businesses.
Thirteen women from Estela’s own community gathered that day and heard about the new opportunity they would have to receive working capital and training for their businesses.
As a result, this group of women formed a committee and took on a group loan. They decided to call their solidarity group “Libertad”; a name which meant freedom and represented the hope they had in breaking free from the loan sharks that they were used to working with.
Today, because of the Diaconia’s reasonable interest rates and savings program, Estela has been able to grow her business.
She has successfully paid her first three-month loan and is now receiving her second loan. During the first four months in the program, Estela also received financial literacy training so that she could manage her business more effectively.
With a strong alignment in Diaconia’s vision of helping hundreds of woman work their way out of physical, mental and spiritual poverty, Global Aid Network (GAiN) Canada and its donors decided to partner with this organization so that more woman could discover the dignity they deserve and the freedom God gives.