Friday, April 15, 2011

Meet Marta!

By Samantha Wattson, Volunteer, Program Manager

Every Tuesday we head out to Díaz Ordaz and Teotitlán de Valle for our weekly borrowers meetings. Here, we dispense loans, collect money, and discuss the many questions, challenges, and successes that the women experience. It also gives us a chance to simply connect, and spend time together outside of the tours. In the last few months, I’ve met the most inspiring women and I’d like to share one of their stories with you.

Marta Rosalía Gonzales García is 29 years old with two children and a third on the way. She has received 5 loans from our program, investing them in 3 different businesses. Almost everyone in Teotitlán is a weaver; and like most everyone Marta is a also a weaver. Her husband weaves, her parents weave, and in a few years her children will learn the family trade. With so many weavers in such a small town competition is inevitable, and with it comes price erosion, community conflict, and for some the inability to sell anything at all. Realizing that competition was fierce and that the income from her tapetes (rugs) couldn’t be her only source of income, Marta decided to take a huge risk. 

Rather than invest in her weaving business, she used her first En Vía loan to cultivate beans and corn. The cultivation of these crops provided a new source of steady income during the “slow season.” Marta then used her second loan to invest in the planting of fruit trees, which will not give a return on investment for another few years. However, the earnings from her bean and corn paid back the loan on the fruit trees. Her past three loans were invested in her weaving business. She decided to focus on the growth of her weaving business after connecting with a buyer who is now placing consistent orders for her tapetes. She hopes to maximize this connection so that she can hire other women in need of work. 

In her own way, Marta is a visionary in her small town of Teotitlán. She has made investments in different areas to maximize her earnings throughout the year, and has taken calculated risks to provide a better future for her family. By diversifying her investments, Marta hopes to benefit her community and provide her children with choices and inspirations outside of the traditional family business.

1 comment:

  1. What I truly love about the En Via program is that is relies on the expertise of the women to decide what is best for them, their family and their community. Marta is a perfect example. Samantha, thanks for sharing.