Refugee Starts Again as a Locksmith

Alex 1

Alex is a man from Túquerres, a municipality in the department of Nariño - Colombia, located 57.4 km from the Ecuadorian city of Tulcán. The constant natural disasters and armed conflicts in the area has caused the economy to decline, making it unsustainable for Alex to remain in his place. Alex comments with an air of melancholy that the main reason for leaving Túquerres was the scarcity of money and the fall of his business, as he worked marketing aluminum, rods and all kinds of metals, an activity he ventured to move this material from Tulcan to Samaniego in Colombia, running all kinds of risks.

In one of those arduous days of work a control took away all his merchandise, leaving him without the family sustenance. That's why Alex left his hometown in search of a better future with his wife Patricia, his young daughter Liliana (barely 10 months old) and his mother, with only his clothes and the necessary items to survive, leaving behind their loved ones. Like all immigrants with many dreams, but with questions that revealed their uncertainty: will I find a place to live?, will I be able to get a job?, will a charitable soul lend me a helping hand? He traveled without a steady course and without anyone waiting for him when he arrived.

On his arrival in Tulcán, Ecuador, Alex tried to find a place to live with his family with their limited resources, gradually working in different activities and he even resumed his business, and he managed to get enough money to rent a small house where he established his first locksmith workshop in Ecuador.

Thanks to a neighbor, Alex learned that the FODEMI Foundation along with UNHCR facilitated access to credit for displaced persons and refugees. After asking questions and carrying out the different steps he was able to receive this help. As a Colombian in a foreign country he thought he was unable to do this type of procedure with his documentation.

His joy was indescribable when through this project he obtained his first credit on September 22, 2009 with an amount of $330, which he invested in the purchase of his first manual tools: a lock and a folding machine with which he began his history of overcoming.

After receiving the money, Alex didn't want to disappoint the trust they had placed in him, so he got up very early in the morning and went to his small locksmith's office where he performed his work with the greatest dedication possible, fulfilling his orders on time and saving part of the income he obtained from his activity, after solving his household expenses, in order to cover his obligations with FODEMI. Additionally, by establishing a responsible and punctual payment behavior, he aspired to obtain a credit again.

As time went by and after receiving several loans, he has gradually increased his industrial machinery, work tools and raw materials, as well as the number of clients who know Alex's work and appreciate his quality and care.

At present he is in his ninth rotation with an amount of $3,500, with the responsible use of credit he has not only invested in his locksmithery, he established at the beginning of 2018 another enterprise: a small food store that is directed by his wife, generating an additional source of income for his family.

13 years have passed since Alex arrived in Tulcan without a definite course and 10 years since he obtained his first credit. A period of time where Alex's family has had to go through events, hardships, joys and sadness, but thanks to what Alex calls "a helping hand" such as Banco VisionFund Ecuador has managed to grow and overcome every barrier presented to him.

Alex's family currently has two more members: the little 9-year-old Paola and 8-year-old Carolina, who together with their oldest daughter Liliana are Alex's main motivation, they and his wife inspire him to work harder, all together dream of having their own home in the future, as Ecuador has not only given them the opportunity to progress, but has also allowed them to contribute to the local economy.

Thanks to his work, his daily effort and the timely credit from VisionFund Bank Ecuador, Alex and his family feel confident in achieving another of their dreams: to see their daughters become professionals in the near future.