Updates on our project from all over the world

Eudisa Belloc in the Philippines

Eudisa Belloc in the Philippines

In the past month, I received dozens of updates from the microfinance projects we funded. A selection from the reports:

From the Philippines:

Eudisa Belloc’s loan has increased her business capital to purchase an additional storage box used for the packaging of her fish, additional weighing scale. She can also buy more fish from additional fishermen, so the number of fisherman she is helping through her business has increased.
With the extra revenue, she was able to partially renovate her house. (Full)

From the Dominican Republic:

Matilde sells clothes in her small community out in the batty near Hato Mayor. She began with 5000 pesos (138 USD) and has extended her business with the microfinance loans she received. She wants to be successful in her business and dreams of somewhat becoming a designer for her community.

As for now, she is buying clothes from the city then bringing them back to the batty to sell. However, her dream is to eventually buy a sowing machine so that she can repair and design her own clothing. (Full)

From Lebanon:

Lina is a very active woman who does her best to improve her sales. Her grocery store has been doing great, and thanks to her loan, she diversified her merchandise and increased her sales. She also expanded her product range to perfumes, beach equipment for the summer season and toys for children.

She has three children. One of her daughters is married now, and her soon is engaged. He is still in the university and plans to continue his studies in order to get a high education diploma. Her younger daughter is 12 years old and is still in school. (Full)

From Ecuador:

As a member the community bank “Progressive Union” who provided the microfinance loand, Sara Leon diversified her business. She used to raise guinea pigs but at the moment business is slow due to competition. She now bought some pigs and materials to butcher the animals. (Full)

From the Philippines:

Roberto Doroni says his rice farm is doing well. The loan we gave allowed him to purchase pesticide and fertilizers, which gave him a good harvest. (Full)

From Uganda:

Jovia Tiberindwa’s business of selling goats has significantly improved ever since she got our loan. She bought more goats to sell to her increasing clientele. Her profits have increased as a consequence, allowing her to pay for her children’s eduction. (Full)

From Tajikistan:

Kamilova Rano has successfully repaid her 8-month loan of $1500 US Dollars. Rano used the loan in order to increase the turnover capital so she could expand the stock of her goods. Part of her additional revenue is further invested in developing her business. She saves the rest for the education of her children. (Full)

From Ghana:

Victoria trades in textile and foot wear. With our loan she increased her stock was been able to acquire a shed for her shop. This allowed her to stop hawking to sell her goods. (Full)

From Cambodia:

Here is a report I received from the microfinance institute we used to issue a loan to Mrs Tol Sok:
“We met with Mrs. Tol Sok in late March and she was doing well. Mrs. Tol Sok purchased fertilizer for her farm. She is very grateful for her loan because she received it at a very fortuitous time. She needed to start farming but did not have any money to purchase supplies for her farm. Without this loan, she and her husband would not have been able to farm this season.

Mrs. Tol Sok is sad that she is old and her daughter is so young. She is afraid that she will not be able to take care of her daughter when her daughter needs her most. So she is working hard to give her daughter the best education so that she can have a good profession and take care of herself.

At this moment we are sorry to inform you that Mrs. Tol Sok’s group is delinquent on their loan. We are unsure of the cause.” (Full)

A more detailed report shows the Tol Sok Village group missed their repayment of June, although up to 48% of the loan was already repaid. As the loan runs up to early next year, I am pretty sure they will be able to catch up.

From the Philippines:

Edmar ortega used his loan to purchase additional stocks for his sari sari store, and to repair his existing vehicle so he could give better services to his regular costumers. His business keeps on improving. (Full)

Also from the Philippines:

Virginia Fabros is a four-year client of ASKI, the local Kiva partner. With her previous loans their house was being renovated and is now made out of concrete. She was able to purchase more seeds such as string beans, eggplant and bitter gourd. In addition to that, her husband bought stocks of fertilizers needed to grow their vegetables. (Full)

From Ecuador:

Piedad Arminda Calderon Escaleras invested in her food business. She now rents a space on a main street to sell her encebollado instead of selling from her home. Now that she is selling her food in a busier location she has more customers. (Full)

From Mongolia:

Oyuntuya Dashchoimbol received a 4,000,000 tugrug (about US$2,850) loan from XacBank, Kiva’s MFI partner in Mongolia, in May 2009 and is currently paying off the loan.
She requested this loan to purchase more inventory for her food retail business. She bought a great amount of poultry and her business is progressing day by day. Her working capital increased and her monthly profit reached 300,000 tugrugs (~US$210).
With her business earnings she bought necessary things for her children’s education. She helped to her oldest daughter buy a ger so that she could live on her own. Her life improved greatly and her business is expanding. (Full)

Do good, and good will come to you: The Story of Claudia Martinez

Claudia Martinez - The original newspaper article

How we discovered Claudia Martinez

As some of you know, I worked in the Dominican Republic. I arrived days after the Haiti earthquake early January this year, and flew back to Rome last week.

I already told you a story from my time in the Dominican. Something else happened during my stay, something to be know of “The story of Claudia”.

When we set up our office in the Dominican, we called in staff normally working in other parts of the world. One of them was Anisa. I worked with her back in my Dubai days, where we considered her “the mama” of the office. While she was probably the shortest of us all, she had the biggest heart of the bunch. Anisa is the person who considered the office as dear to her heart as her own home. She is the one coming in early to put a flower on people’s desk, goes around with soup when we  – once again – have a long day… And come up with the craziest ideas, born in her big heart.

I called in Anisa to help us in Santo Domingo…. where she immediately resumed her ‘mother-ing’ role, and looked after us like we were her own. For the coffee, the fresh fruit and the occasional “time for you to get out of the office, you have been here long enough!”.

In the early days of the emergency, she wrote me an email, titled “Gesture of generosity to appreciate a local Santo Domingo hairdresser”. (and I thought: What now?):


I read the attached article in Gulf News on 23.01.  It really touched me that here is a soul who is reaching out to others in her best capacity, physically, financially as well as emotionally… as she is doing it with her heart.
I am sure she herself penny pinches but has a heart of gold and filled with generosity to reach out and bring a smile on another human being.

So I cut out the article and was going to ask any one of our staff who would be in Santo Domingo to trace her. I wanted someone to give her a small donation from myself. This would then enable her to continue spreading the happiness and cheer to a lot more other ‘Haitian patients’.

But then I was asked to come her myself. I was in a state of shock …. Was this a calling for me to come over personally and seek this woman out or what?

Well, I cut out the article and from the time I have arrived I have requested Amelia and Elizabeth to help me trace this lady – Claudia Martinez. Which has not been easy.

Eventually, Elizabeth managed and has spoken to her and we have her phone number. Claudia is willing to come to the Hotel and meet with us. So my humble request is can we keep a small box for a collection? Have a write up stuck up above the coffee station with the box and staff can pitch in as they feel best.
With the donation and our best wishes she can then continue with her ‘good deeds’?

An opportunity for the our staff  to reach out and bring some happiness and support to the less fortunate…..

Thank you,


I read the article Anisa attached. It was a piece from Gulfnews, one of the local newspapers in the UAE. It told the story of Claudia Martinez, a Dominican lady who volunteered to help some of the Haitian earthquake victims in the main Santo Domingo hospital. She helped by… doing their hair. As the story said: “Her task may seem trivial, but she believes restoring a bit of beauty and humanity to people who have lost everything and survived deplorable conditions is important.”

A story that speaks to one’s imagination. We collected over US$300, and finally met Claudia in March. She came over to the office together with the hospital volunteers’ coordinator. I introduced her to the staff in the office, and we engaged into a lively conversation. Claudia, a single mother of two, was not aware of the newspaper story. “One day, a guy at the hospital took some pictures and asked me some questions, and that was it”, she said. Nor did she realize it was picked up by Agence Presse, and got republished in many newspapers all over the world, from the US to the Middle East, Pakistan and New Zealand. And she had no idea how she had inspired others.

We emphasized the money we collected was for her, and to use it for something she wanted to do. Asked what she wished for, she answered: “I wished I could learn how to read and write. I wished I could give my kids a proper education”. That was quite a challenge as she could barely make ends meet, and her eldest is speech impaired. But still, she volunteered most of her time at the hospital. “It is heart-breaking to see how little those people in the hospitals really have”, she said. “I feel rich compared to them”…

Anisa and Claudia

Anisa (L) and Claudia (R)

We sat outside for a long while, with staff from the office joining into the conversation, and Gaby patiently translating between English and Spanish. We got to understand the hospital is the largest in the Dominican. Often patients were brought in, and left there. Many did not have a change of clothes. Kids without anything but a pair of pants. Their families simply did not have the means to take care of them. Neither did the hospital. Claudia asked if we wanted to come over, to see for ourselves. Which we promised to do.

Since then, “our project” continued: we donated several parcels with used toys for the kids and basic clothing for the patients. But then another thing happened unexpectedly: Just incredible how things go sometimes…:

A few weeks after I met Claudia, I was in North Italy, on a short break with my family. Frau Preindl, the owner of the hotel, knew I worked in the Haiti emergency. Just as we were leaving, Frau Preindl said “wait!”. She grabbed an envelope and put it in my hands: “Here, you will know what to do with it. Go and make a difference. You know, we seldom realize how lucky we are. We have all we need, so the least thing we can do, is to share some of it.”

It was not until I got back to the Dominican, three days later, I realized there was a real significant sum in that envelope. And I did not have to think long what to do with the money…

Stay tuned for Part II of the story.

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