On the outskirts of the Ecuadorian town of Tulcán, where the streets are narrow and full of dirt, on a large landfill site of mountains of plastic garbage, stands 33-year old Liciria.
Originally from Ipiales in Colombia, she came to Ecuador with her family at age 14 due to ongoing violence and lack of work in her home country.
At 15 she had her first daughter and at 17 the second. After nine years of living with her partner, Liciria decided to separate so as not to have to endure her partner’s violence and mistreatment.
Left without an income, she was forced to work where she could to support her daughters.
At first, she dedicated himself to loading garbage and sorting it, which earned her $300 per month, which was not enough for her family's expenses or the education of her daughters.
However, she persevered. Over time, the man to whom she sold her garbage bought machinery to recycle plastic bottles and make then into hoses.
Liciria learned to use the machines quickly and when the owner went bankrupt, she rented them. Now she had a plan.
A friend, also a recycler, told her about VisionFund Ecuador; Liciria quickly joined a credit group and requested a loan of USD$600 with VisionFund Ecuador.
With the money she bought materials, and began producing her hoses for sale to hardware stores and specialized stores in Ipiales (Colombia) and Tulcán.
Four years later, Liciria’s typical day looks very different than when she was a single mother and garbage collector.
Now, she meets with her many employees, organizes the work to fulfill all orders at the landfill site, and then she goes to pick up her daughters after school, where her oldest daughter is student president.
“I want my daughters to fulfill their dreams,” says Liciria. “Daniela wants to enter the army and Nathaly wants to be a nurse, and with the support of VisionFund Ecuador’s loans, I can work to grow and secure her future.”
Liciria is still working, hopes to reapply for another loan when she finishes paying off the one she has now.
With the new loan she will buy more machinery to continue producing and get closer to fulfilling her dreams.
“I thank VisionFund and I think what they do is good because when you need it more you can ask for the credits, and they help you,” smiles Liciria.