Update from the Field: a Microfinance Success Story

On my last trip to Tipitapa, I was honored to meet Jacquelyne, a mother of three who received a Dos Pueblos microloan almost two years ago. A resident in Oronte Centeno near the center of town, Jacquelyne requested a microloan to help her small business making bags and fixing clothes. The leftover fabric never went to waste, since her skills on the sewing machine allowed her to stitch and darn every last piece of material into something to sell to support her family.

With the loan, and some family support, Jacquelyne sells and sews not only in Tipitapa, but also sends her cousin off to Matagalpa in the north of Nicaragua every month with a batch of bags to sell there, and he always comes back empty handed. Meanwhile in Oronte Centeno, the word of her work is spreading and she has new visitors all the time. "I'm the only person in this community who mends clothes", Jacquelyne says, "I think that's why work is always busy". That and the fact that her bags are beautiful, fully lined and even zipped to keep all your things safe. We'll have some for sale at our Fall Fundraiser on November 7th. Come along and see the bags for yourself and support Jacquelyne!

Marina – a Volunteer Against All the Odds

Marina and Emanuel, one of her pupils
Marina and Emanuel, one of her pupils


Life has thrown its lot at Marina Garcia Hortado, one of our dedicated volunteers from Chilamatillo, Tipitapa. Despite all the odds, Marina has always taken it upon herself to improve the lives not just of her children, but of her entire community, providing support such as education on birth control and workshops for women so they can start their own businesses. Not to mention that she’s a fantastic cook!

Her volunteer life began in 1985, when she taught at the local preschool in her community. There was no funding for paid teachers, but Marina understood the importance of free education for all from as young an age as possible and immediately offered her services. However, diseases such as malaria meant many children could not attend school, and in larger families children had to spend their time pitching in to put food on the table. Marina attended courses on malaria and diarrhea so she could share her knowledge back in Chilamatillo, and started working with ‘Profamilia’ who provide programs and services on family planning.

When Marina’s husband Jose lost his sight and could no longer work as a mechanic, Marina took a job at the local primary school to support the upbringing and education of her four children. But this did not impede her volunteer work, and her experiences as a teacher gave her the skills to teach adults how to read and to give private classes to children with special learning disabilities. And since improving the lives of the women in her community was her main priority, she continued to share her family planning knowledge, riding around the community on her bike to distribute contraceptive pills to as many women as she could.

Through working with Rosa, our community leader in Tipitapa, Marina is now assisting our microfinance program, and learnt many skills so she could assist the women along the way – cooking, sewing, handicrafts, even beauty classes! She is our main cook when we head down to Tipitapa on a delegation, and even does a hot plate of ‘gallo pinto’ (beans and rice) better than anyone else. When asked of her dreams for the future, Marina replied “To always have the opportunity to help the people in my community. And perhaps one day to be able to thank the donors of Dos Pueblos in person!”