Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Microloan Case Study in Bolivia Shows Great Impact

El Alto, Bolivia — One family benefiting from Bethesda's microloan program is the Zapata family. Carmen Zapata owns a business where she washes cars in the street in front of her house. She has two daughters Nayla (13) and Andrea (9), and Carmen is very proud to tell us that they are great students. 

Carmen’s husband works providing services to different people as a claims administrator and assisting lawyers with administrative tasks. These jobs are on a case by case basis and he receives pay at the end of the day. The money he makes is most often used to buy food for the family. Carmen told us, “My family receives great benefit from the program because almost all the income from my husband is spent in food, and many times it isn’t enough, but I know my children will have food and the needed help for their studies.“

The microloan program also provides school materials for the children, a loan for Carmen to start her own business, and training and coaching in how to run her business. Brother Freddy and Sister Esperanza from the church provide encouragement and advice to Carmen and her children. Carmen expressed how she feels so cared for by Brother Freddy and Sister Esperanza: "like their child." Carmen quoted to us Matthew 4:19: "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men." Her hope is for the church to continue to help people like her and her family.

The microloan program in Bethesda has impacted many others just like Carmen and her family. The program has benefited 32 families or 128 people. These families come from one of eight different churches in the area. In recent months, several of the beneficiaries have completed paying back their loans and new groups of loan recipients have begun.