Setting up Shop Surrounded by Volcanoes

Aurelio Morales grew up in a beautiful part of Guatemala in a village surrounded by towering volcanoes in Sololá State located in the Southwestern Highlands of the country. Generally, many of the people live a traditional lifestyle, wearing brightly colored clothing called Traje. Rich in Mayan culture, the garments date back 1000 years. They are handwoven from cotton using a backstrap or standing loom to weave the beautiful designs. Often times weavers will use natural dyes such as flowers, minerals and herbs to achieve the brilliant colors. Most families in the area farm the rich volcanic soils like they have been doing for generations.

Aurelio married at a young age and started her family at 20 years old. Aurelio’s family continued to grow. She and her husband recognized the need to increase their income to be able to properly provide for their children. Her husband was already working hard but didn’t earn enough to reach their financial goals and expand their house for their growing family.

Unfortunately, living in the remote community of Chuacruz comprised of 160 families, there were limited opportunities for employment. At that point, she made the decision to launch a business of her own. She could operate a tiny shop front next to her house from which to sell products. With this in mind, Aurelio would then be able to take care of her small children while working. While she lacked the necessary starting funds, she had the inspiration and determination to succeed. Fortunately, she knew exactly how to overcome this challenge and get started.

Hope for a Brighter Future

Aurelio’s husband had previously been a member of a FINCA Village Banking Group and had received a loan for a weaving business he was part of. So, in 2021 she applied for a loan of approximately of $600 to start her shop. She used the money to buy inventory consisting of household items and food products. As she sold her inventory, she was able to pay back her loan within a few months and use some of the profit to reinvest in her business. She received a second loan to purchase more inventory in preparation for the Easter holiday. She now serves about 25 customers a day and is saving some of her profit towards her goal of finishing her house.