Mrs. Nelly has a special sparkle in her eyes as she begins to tell us her story. She assures us that thanks to VisionFund she is able to sustain her family and at the same time help more women sustain theirs.
Nelly remembers that over 12 years ago she took out her first group loan from VisionFund (previously FODEMI) along with two other colleagues. She had a fulltime job then, but circumstances changed. She was fired, and given the lack of work, she started her own venture. By that time the group with which she used to take out credit had disintegrated, and so, placing her trust in God, she came to VisionFund to apply for individual credit. Nelly says that the doors have never been closed to her and thanks to the trust placed in her she was able to start her business of breeding pigs.
The business was thriving. But Nelly remembers a period that she considers as one of the toughest battles of her life. When her husband left their family seven years ago, leaving her alone with her children, she approached VisionFund again in desperation to request for another loan to grow her business by raising cattle. She says that part of the inner strength that lives within her is thanks to VisionFund, which has not let her defeat herself and has allowed her to seek new opportunities.
Nelly has three children who are her engine of life. Because of them, she cannot give up. She remembers that there were days of very deep loneliness, but that God always accompanies her and through the bank showed her that she was not alone and that she was going to be able to get ahead.
The COVID-19 pandemic was a hard and unexpected blow for her and her family, since when the usual trade did not develop, the price of milk began to fall sharply. There were days when she preferred to give the milk to her family and neighbors so that they had something to feed on, as everyone's economy had been affected. Always looking for opportunities to grow, she was soon able to employ two women were the providers for their own families.
Currently, Nelly has more than 20 cows and 10 calves, and this allows her to continue believing in her dream - that she is able to support her children and that they did not have to suffer as long as they had her. She says that her children do not need anyone else as long as she was able to work. Her eldest is 20 years old, the second 15, and the youngest seven, and she has been able to educate them all. Her eldest daughter is in college and the two little ones are in college and school respectively.
Nelly says that there's nothing better than being able to be the guardian of her children's dreams; she longs for her daughter to be an empowered, strong, courageous woman and so she cannot be overthrown by any problem that comes her way in life, and at the same time women who see her as an example can feel inspired and empowered themselves.
"The difficult days are less, thanks to the help of VisionFund which always gave me help and confidence that I never doubted my ability to start my own business, and even more supported my dream of continuing to grow; it is well named as the bank of opportunities. VisionFund has allowed me to empower myself and more women through me; and they say an empowered woman makes empowered communities," she says.
Story by Jaime Hernandez, VisionFund Ecuador