Updates from our microfinance entrepreneurs: Nov-Dec 2009

Over the past two months, we have received quite a bit of news from our entrepreneurs all over the world which we supported through microfinance loans.

A grip out of the numerous updates:

Over the past year, we have supported many loans to Ecuador. A recent update showed how life continues to be a challenge in South America:

A major energy crisis has swept Ecuador since November 5, crippling many businesses.
Daily power rationing in every zone of every town and city lasts between 3 and 5 hours every day. Half of Ecuador’s economic output is petroleum, but most is destined for foreign lands. Domestically, the country relies on hydroelectric power. The nationwide drought and lack of alternative fuel sources have brought the country to a near-standstill. Coupled with the global financial crisis, the energy crunch has impacted further access to capital for many entrepreneurs, given slower demand for goods and services.

Examples of how Kiva borrowers have been affected are unfortunately easy to find from our interviews. For example, Felinda in Manta has a restaurant that needed to shut its doors in the evening for dinner, as she could not service her clients. Astromelia in Portoviejo could not use her computer nor print photos for clients using her digital printer when the power went out for 5 hours in the middle of a work day.

In Cuenca, the drought itself is impacting the many agricultural businesses of Kiva borrowers such as Teresa who lives in the hills behind Cuenca. Many of her chickens and pigs purchased with a Kiva loan have passed away, and she is currently behind on her repayments to Fundación Espoir. Luckily, the government has stated that the crisis will be over and daily rationing will end before Christmas due to new deals signed with Peru and Colombia to supply energy to Ecuador.

Cindy has invested her money in buying more shoes and a car to transport goods. She has not had difficulty in paying her loan so far and is in good health. Cindy is also 6 months pregnant with a boy on the way. Her husband’s electrician business is not going as well due to the economy, but has been taking advantage recently with the energy crisis with the sale of generators for businesses in need.

Maria, on the other hand, invested her money in buying more chickens, guinea pigs and food for her animals. Mari has had some family issues recently with the recent death of her sister who passed away from a stroke. Maria has taken over care of her 3 nieces who are 7, 5 and 11 months of age because the children’s father was an alcoholic and could not care for them.

After the devastating typhoons which hit South East Asia in October, we launched a major fundraiser to support the affected entrepreneurs in the Philippines, Cambodia and Vietnam. Over $6,000 was raised in one month.
In December we received several updates:

Instead of running her planned a sari-sari (variety) store, Ms Irvy Bation in the Philippines is currently focused on her ice drops business. If the weather is good, Irvy estimated that she can make P1,000 in a day. She’ll usually leave 3 boxes of ice drops at three separate school canteens at the beginning of the day, and then will visit the schools again at the end of the day to pick up the earnings. She also takes orders for ice drops, usually from neighbors.

Apart from ice pops, Irvy also sells what she calls “lumpianiza” – or lumpia (small eggrolls) with longaniza (Filipino pork sausage) as the filling. She sells the lumpianiza for credit, payable in 15 days.

Irvy expressed her thanks for the loan in the video above. She was comfortable enough to use English for most of her interview, so the video is well-worth checking out! Going forward, Irvy would like to buy a freezer, so she can make more ice drops and expand her business to other schools.

We highlighted Fe Erma before, an entrepreneur directly affected by the typhoons before. Fe used our loan to buy what was needed for her fishing business: 4 bundles of different fishnets worth Php 40,000 and 40 pieces of bamboo worth Php 2,000, a total of Php 42,000.
She will use all of these in expanding the fish pond. The remaining part of her loan is kept as a buffer when her business needs it.

Lolita Cerezola, also in the Philippines was also affected by the typhoons which destroyed her fishing pond. She converted her loan to a group fund and every member of the group can use it in times of emergency needs.

Lolita used the loan that she received in buying the necessary things that needed by her business in improving it. To repair the fish cage she buys what is needed like fishnets worth Php 11,250, bamboo cost Php 2,500, different nails worth Php 1,000, a total of Php 14,750. They also bought a small boat and repaired it to make bigger, costing them Php 25,260. She use her own savings to compliment the loan.

Nancy Cernero used the loan to buy a complete boat worth Php 18,000, different types of fishnet worth 12,000, a total of Php 30,000. Their first plan is to make their own boat but they decided to buy a made fishing boat because they were running out of time. They really needed to use the boat in fishing. They’ll just make sure that the boat that they’ll buy is durable.

From Cambodia, we received this update:

Mrs. Mao Kung and her husband, Mr. Nget Sarom work hard to support their four children. She is a pig breeder and her husband is a rice farmer. In order to grow her pig breeding business, Mao Kung used the loan of 1,000,000 Riel ($250 USD) to buy piglets and pig feed. She successfully sold the pigs earlier this year and experienced an increase in profits.
She reported that she was able to start a savings as well as buy a cow to plow her husband’s rice field. They expect to save money over the long run since they will no longer need to hire a laborer for the field. They did have a minor setback as her husband got a lung complication and needed to spend 150,000 Riel ($38 USD) on medical attention. Despite the minor financial setback, Mao Kung was very happy with the loan’s impact and plans on taking out another loan to buy more piglets.

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