Las Azucenas

“Las Azucenas” (the lilies) is a savings group from Tamahú, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala that began in 2009 through the Trickle Up program. Beginning with 20 participants, the group now comprises 54 members, including two men and seven children. Las Azucenas is one of the oldest and most successful Trickle Up savings groups in Central America. Las Azucenas members explain how the savings group has changed their lives.
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Gilma Floridalma Tipol: “I am Gilma Floridalma Tipol, president of Las Azucenas savings group. We are a group of women managing savings and credit. We started in 2009.”

Jorge Coy: “The group in Tamahu is Trickle Up’s oldest and most successful.”

Efrain Tecu: “Savings groups are a strong support for the local economy, because they allow each household to have access to credit especially in periods of shortage.”

Jorge Coy: “There’s no other financial institution that provides the service and kindness this group provides to its members.”

Gilma Floridalma Tipol: “Each woman has a different activity. Some raise chickens, some raise pigs.”

Mercedes Tipol: “I started with 1000 coffee plants. With loans from the savings group, I was able to buy more. Now I have 3000 plants, my next goal is to have 4000 plants.”

Florinda Chiquin: “The savings group helps me invest in thread and supplies. With the income, I’m able to buy food and school supplies for my children.”

Efrain Tecu: “It’s more than savings. We see mothers getting together to share their knowledge about how to nourish their kids, mentor teenagers, and solve social issues in the community.”

Gilma Floridalma Tipol: “Our group is important because we teach women beyond the group and from other communities.”

Jorge Coy: “It creates social capital. People get organized. That allows them to influence political decisions in their country.”

Efrain Tecu: “We have examples where savings groups manage water projects, sewage projects, and the improvement of their roads.”

Jorge Coy: “Some savings groups are 6 or 7 years old, and they haven’t disappeared. Instead they have expanded”

Efrain Tecu: “They maintain the organization themselves without involvement of Trickle Up or its partners.”

Gilma Floridalma Tipol: “When I need money for an investment I know it will be there for me because it’s safe with the savings group. We are a group that helps out when somebody falls down. We have learned about solidarity, living together, and how to be a good leader.”

Jorge Coy: “We have gone from seeing people who did not talk, not even in their own homes, to men and women empowered, who see their kids are eating better and living healthier. This is what inspires the Trickle Up mission.”

Mercedes Tipol: “I had never been part of any group before. With this program, my life has changed.”

Gilma Floridalma Tipol: “What makes me so proud and satisfied is seeing my women coworkers improving themselves. Before we always depended on men. Not anymore. Now we are capable of doing anything.”

Las Azucenas Savings Group started in 2009 with 20 members. Under Gilma’s leadership, it now has 54 members, including 2 men.

It just entered into a partnership with the Guatemala Ministry of Agriculture to provide crops for export.

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