In Latin America, Guatemala ranks the 2nd highest country for extreme child poverty at 47%. This equates to three million children. Guatemala also ranks as the highest of Latin American countries for chronic malnutrition at nearly 55%.
In Guatemala children suffer great cruelty and hardship. Many are pulled out of school by their parents at an early age to beg for money or work. Most families can't afford for their children not to work because 57% of the population have an income of less than $2 per day, and nearly 27% of the population are considered to live in ‘extreme poverty’ with less than $1per day.
For many years, civil war inhibited trade and foreign investment, but with the 1996 peace accords, the gateway to foreign investment and trade were opened. This has created many opportunities for the people of Guatemala. But without training and loans these dreams become unrealised and the lives of children and families continue to spiral downward.
We currently have three main programmes to serve our clients; individual loans, solidarity groups and community banks. Over the coming years we want to continue to strengthen and improve these programmes while adding new programmes to reach new and additional clients.
The new programmes we will be providing are: solidarity groups for entrepreneurial women, housing programmes, communal services and home improvement loans. These initiatives will help us achieve our financial and economical goals for 2013.
Don Javier Sipac lives in the village Xepatan. He decided to open a basic grocery shop in 1995. This business flourished and in 2005 he decided to expand his shop to include a bakery. After 14 loans ranging from US$650 to US$6,250, he now distributes to eight communities and employs multiple bakers and two delivery men.
His business supports his wife and three children and people in his community.
Our CEO, Carlos Pineda, joined in April 2012 with over 30 years experience in banking and finance. He was previously the Regional Director of Microfinance in the fourth largest bank in Guatemala and has extensive experience in this area. Carlos studied business management and agricultural studies while at university.
Our microfinance institution has a board of directors and management team that oversees the work of the MFI.