Saturday, December 11, 2010

Celebrating a year of Success!

Yesterday we celebrated the completion of our successful year working with village banks together with our local partner Multicredit. It was a lot of prep and hard work up until our start time, which of course was 40 minutes later then planned, but worth all the effort. To give you a small re-cap, I will highlight some of my favorite moments, and let the pictures tell the rest.

The idea of our gathering was to invite all the loan recipients from all 12 village banks in the same room, so we could share their successes with everyone and at the same time motivate the women to continue working hard in the coming year. We had outstanding attendance, out of 100 active loan recipients I would estimate that more than 80 women were present. Each village bank was invited to participate in the "Best Table" Competition where the women put on display their works and were then judged by 4 criteria: presentation, creativity, unity, and quality of works. In the morning when the women came to set up their tables I was in complete awe. They were taking the competition very seriously. 3 of our village banks went above and beyond. "United Women" all came in red shirts that had their village bank name on the front and then their individual names on the back of their shirts. That says TEAM to me. "Strength and Blessings" had each crochet purple vests (and also made my purple crochet cape for the occasion) and arrived in complete unison. Finally, the winner, "Start of Belen" put up a starry night backdrop for their table and every loan recipient had a star filled t-shirt. The competition brought out the best out in some of our banks, and was such a joy to see the unity that our banks have come to grow into.

Certificates were given all afternoon. I was especially filled with pride as our literacy students stood in front of the crowd and received recognition for not only for their hard work and dedication, but their personal decision to invest in themselves with a tool as basic (for many of us) as literacy. Near the end of the event I introduced the crowd to our 2011 village banking team: Desiree, Ahidee, Jheny and Oswaldo. It was an emotional moment, symbolically 'passing on the torch' and giving my blessing to our incredible team to continue the good work into next year.

We finished the event with a raffle and prizes; our friends and collaborators at GyC, as well at the head nun Sor Reyna, helped us throw numbers in the air to select our winners. Then the room turned into chaos as the drinking hot chocolate and eating fruit cake time began. All in all, Success. As I compile information for our Year End report next week I will make sure to share it here on the blog, so you all can get a better idea of specific successes, as there are many. But, now it is time for me to relax and regain strength for the coming week. Enjoy the photos!

Paz ~ Nora

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