By Maria Cristina Gandarillas, External Communications Officer at World Vision Ecuador and Brad Stave, VisionFund International, Marketing and Communications
March 8th is International Women’s Day, a day set aside to advocate for the rights of women around the world.
Along with other organizations around the globe, VisionFund, the microfinance subsidiary of World Vision, is highlighting its efforts of responding to the needs of women through microfinance services including small loans.
Even though women make up half of the world's population, they are under represented economically in the marketplace. In fact, women perform the majority of the world's work, but only own 1% of the world's assets.
Amongst VisionFund’s micro borrowers, over 68% of all loan clients are women. These women are able to use small loans to improve or start up new businesses. In addition, studies show that women spend the majority of their profits on their families and children, including improving healthcare, nutrition and education.
Mrs. Cuascota of Ecuador is one of over 426,000 women currently being served by VisionFund’s network of 42 microfinance institutions located in every region where World Vision works.
Her son, Darwin, was faced with the realisation that he would not be able to continue his education because his family could not afford his school fees.
After weighing various options over several days, Darwin approached his mother with an idea that could help his family generate the extra income they needed.
With a small loan totalling no more than $440, Mrs. Cuascota purchased a pregnant calf. The loan provided by the local World Vision affiliated microfinance institution, Fodemi, assured her the capital she needed to start her small side business.
Now, with Darwin lending a hand, Mrs. Cuascota is able to supplement her income with an additional $43 per month. All of the profits from this small side business are used to pay for Darwin’s school fees.
The family’s new business has also provided Darwin with direction for his future. Darwin plans to attend University and become a dairy farmer. Darwin’s mother is making his dream a reality, all through the power of one small loan.
Darwin shares, “I want to study and become a dairy farmer. When I’m an adult, I want to buy cows, a truck and a large piece of land.”
Small loans provide women entrepreneurs in the developing world with the resources they need to improve their own lives. Women like Mrs. Cuascota in Ecuador are able to provide for their families through businesses supported by VisionFund affiliated microfinance institutions.
To view additional stories and videos highlighting women entrepreneurs in each region where VisionFund works, visit: http://www.visionfundinternational.org/women and learn how small loans are changing the lives of women, children, families and communities through the empowering capacity of small loans. Click here to download a quick fact sheet on “women and microfinance” at VisionFund.