Virginia Quispe's Story
"This is my product," says Virginia Quispe, showing the tasty chips she and her husband make, package, sell and deliver. "Soy cracklings. We make them, and we deliver directly to the stores and they are in charge of distributing it to others."
Virginia and her husband, Wilfredo Saca, live in La Paz, Bolivia. They are working hard to build up their small business and make a better life for their small children.
"My husband and I didn't have much when we started," she says. "At the beginning it was hard. We took two baskets all around La Paz on foot. Then someone told us that they give loans at the church."
Pastor Abdón administers the microfinance program of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bolivia, with the support of ELCA World Hunger.
He describes the microfinance program as an ecumenical service for everyone. "God is not only in the church," he says. "God has to go outside to share the love we receive. Our program grows every year. Last year we granted over 411 loans."
Thanks to the loan, Virginia and Wilfredo could expand the business and make payments to their packaging company where the money was most needed. Today, the husband and wife team begins the typical work day at 5 a.m., delivering orders to as many as 30 stores until the early evening.
"Since the business is ours, we have more earnings. It is like a steady salary. It helps us so much to have savings," says Virginia.
Pastor Abdón knows Virginia's business helps more families than just her own. As her business grows, she is starting to employ other people. They benefit other families that depend on Virginia. It is a multiplying effect.
"The ELCA has been a catalyst for us," Pastor Abdón continues. "Not only does it help us, but the families are thankful."
Virginia says, "I am grateful to the church, because they have helped me a lot to expand my product."
And Wilfredo adds, "Love, home, our kids these are the most important things in life. As a couple, we give our best. We give everything. Thanks to that, we have everything here now."
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