In February 2014, the first community group in San Isidro was founded. San Isidro is a settlement of the city of Lambaré, located about 20 minutes from Asunción, the capital of Paraguay.
Called “Unidas de San Isidro” (Unity in San Isidro), this group is associated with Diaconia, a non-profit Paraguayan organization that provides training programs and micro-credit to the poor so that they can live to discover the dignity and complete freedom that God gives. The group, consisting of 15 members (1 man and 14 women), shares a community loan of $1,900 USD.
Members’ business activities range from selling food, clothes, fruits and vegetables, purchasing and selling recycled material, and selling convenience items.
Doña Celestina, a widow and mother of 11 adult children, is responsible for gathering the whole group, because she had the conviction that the micro-credit program was just what they needed.
However, due to her age, she was not able to participate in the group loan.
Doña Celestina lives with her daughter Olga, who is hardworking and a single mother of two children. Together they opened their home for the group meetings.
“My house is really blessed and I am very happy to be able to receive the women in my house that they can be blessed too. It is a very [big] help to so many families [from] my community and I am so thankful for that,” shares Doña Celestina.
Blas, the group's adviser from Diaconia, says “It’s the first community group I know of [that created] a ledger by their own initiative”. This is largely due to individuals identifying their gifts and taking ther roles seriously; just like the group’s Secretary realizing she was orderly, which led to her developing the ledger.
To invest in her own business, Olga received an individual loan of $135 USD. Once a week, Olga and her mother buy basic products such as eggs, oil, and coffee as well as recycled material. Olga leaves the house to run the business and sell the products door to door; while Doña Celestina sells the products in their house because she suffers with arthritis and needs to be at home to rest as well as care for her two grandchildren.
As individuals, these people are working their way out of poverty, but as a community, they are re-shaping their destinies.
Would you like to help other women find freedom from a life of poverty?