Margarette first became a FINCA client in 2006, because she wanted to give her three children a better life. Her big dream was that her children would go to school so they could have a better future. Back then, Margarette supported her children with a small business from her house in Aquin, selling meat, as well as some hardware items. But this business never made me much money, and she knew wanted to earn more money to pay for the schools. When Margarette heard about FINCA in a meeting at my church, she knew it could be her chance. She got together with some neighbors, and they formed the Fanm Askyon (“Women of Action”) FINCA Village Banking group.
Margarette used her first FINCA loan of 4,000 gourdes (US$105) to buy cosmetics in Port-au-Prince to sell in Aquin. She was very successful, so FINCA increased her second loan amount to 8,000 gdes (US$210), which she used to buy cosmetics in bulk from a wholesaler. This allowed her to save money, have an inventory, and get more cosmetic products. As a result, her profits grew every month.
As her business continued growing, FINCA suggested in 2006 that Margarette move up to a FINCA small group loan. Her friends in Fanm Askyon wanted her to stay, but they were happy to welcome her daughter Rachelle in her place. Rachelle stayed with the group for two years, and became the treasurer. She has since left to go to school in Port-au-Prince. Though her family is no longer part of the group, it still meets at Margarette’s home in Aquin, and she serves as its mentor. The members call her “Mother Mountain.”
Margarette says she was afraid the first time she borrowed $100 from FINCA that she would never be able to repay so much money. But she did and, through the years, was able to borrow more money. Her confidence grew as she found that she was able to pay back every loan. She is using her most recent loan of 120,000 gourdes (US$2,962), with a nine month repayment period, to continue expanding her cosmetics and hardware businesses, to buy equipment for a new butcher shop, and to pay for a motorcycle and driver’s salary, another new business.
Thanks to her hard work and FINCA loans, Margarette has been very successful. She bought a small house in Port-au-Prince for her children, so they can go to a better high school than the one in Aquin. She visits them whenever she has to buy merchandise in Port-au-Prince. Rachelle is now in the eleventh grade; her son Enoch is in tenth, and her daughter Ruth is in the ninth grade. She used some of her earnings to buy a plot of land in Aquin and two cows. She is even saving to pay for Rachelle’s wedding.
Margarette and her children and all survived the earthquake, but their house in Port-au-Prince was destroyed, as was her father’s house in l’Azile. Her dream now is to build another house in for the children, so they can finish high school and go on to university.
Margarette says, “I am proud to be a FINCA client, and I love what FINCA has done for me and for other Haitian women. FINCA has helped me make a much better life for my family, and give my children a chance for a better future. Thank you FINCA!”