Unidas y Animadas

Marina Gómez Álvarez’s life changed when she joined her savings group in Chiapas, Mexico. She used to sell shoes door to door but then the pandemic hit. With seed capital and the group’s support, she turned to a new investment. Now, Marina operates a corn mill and sells bread from her own home. She is able to save again. And her savings group continues to be a source of advice, support, friendship, and strength. They're united and motivated.
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My name is Marina Gómez Álvarez. I live in Santa Ana, a municipality of Trinitaria, Chiapas. I am a housewife and I dedicate my time to taking care of my siblings, I am responsible for them. People have asked me how I manage with them … I used to sell shoes from house to house. But now because of the contingency I am not going out as much. People no longer had money to buy products. So, I felt sad.

In the savings group we have been supporting each other and some women have made loans. We had to think about how to continue saving and what businesses we could start. I had to buy a corn mill to avoid going out to sell shoes. They gave us seed capital of 6 thousand pesos (USD 350). I had already recovered half the amount, the small sum I had invested in shoes I sold them, and I invested the 5 thousand pesos I made and bought the corn mill. Women come here to grind and with what they pay me, I can save. I also sell a bread called “contemperante” and I offer it to my relatives, so they come to buy it at my home. It makes me feel happy because I make money from my livelihood and now I can save again.

It gives me strength that we are united, and we motivate each other. We talk about our problems or certain circumstances that are not going well for us. The more advice, the better the results. When we come to save, we feel a special affection for each other. We know each other, we know our motivations, and besides being in a savings group, it means a lot for me because of our friendship and the support it provides. Before, when this group did not exist, we could not save. But now it is very different, we save and I like to do that together with all the group. I hope we will always continue. I am very happy to be a part of this group.

I like it here where I live because there are many trees and I can plant and harvest. On the other hand, we would like to improve our streets. I would also like to have a school here in my community. I know there are problems but what helps me is always being positive. I would tell other women that we are not alone that everything is possible in this life, that anything can be achieved, to always be positive, get ahead, and never look back. We must focus on the present and look to the future.

Marina participated in the Empowering Women and Youth Through Graduation and Financial Inclusion project funded by MetLife Foundation.

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