Thursday, November 11, 2010

Village Banks Marching On!

Aurelia preparing her empanadas

Hello DHF Family! This past week and a half has been extremely hectic so apologies for not writing sooner. I’ve been dividing my time between village bank meetings, Hope House activities, and helping Nora collect data for DHF’s annual program evaluation. So there is so much to tell! These past two weeks, two village banks completed their first loan cycle. At the end of a loan cycle, each bank elects a new directive committee (president, secretary, and treasurer) and receives a new loan. Village Bank Mujeres Luchadoras (Fighting Women) were first up and extremely excited about transitioning. Their new president, Ingrid, is extremely active and is in the process of programming a fundraiser with her socias on November 15th. The goal is to split the profits and put them toward their savings so at the end of the year they can purchase Christmas gifts for their kids. Our second bank Estrellitas de Belen (Stars of Bethlehem) voted a new loan recipient in and elected her president. Aurelia is definitely a mover and a shaker. She is the eldest of the group and has dreams of opening up a food stand where she can sell fried chicken, stuffed potatoes, and other finger foods. Before entering the bank she sold school supplies and candy to neighborhood kids. As a result she saved about $150, just half way short of her goal. Now with a DHF sponsored loan, she’ll be able to go ahead and purchase her cart and start selling food this month. She too is also organizing a fundraiser with her group not only to motivate them, but to unify them and develop trust in one another.  It’s refreshing to see new leadership in our village banks and witness our women progressing. So yesterday, while Ingrid was in computer class, Aurelia came to cooking class and learned how to make empanadas (stuffed, baked treats). Both left with a smile on their face.  I left with a sense of pride and reassurance that the hard work and late nights are paying off and making a difference in our women’s lives.

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