Juana Harvests the Fruits of Her Labor
Juana, a 44-year-old mother, never had an easy path. As a young girl, she had to leave her studies behind to help her mother support her nine siblings. Though she didn’t finish her education, her mother taught her how to work the land. She has raised four children in a humble home with dirt floors, sharing the space with her two sisters, nieces, nephews and several other extended family members. Juana first began a small tortilla business with an microloan for $114. As she saw her business take off, Juana began to invest in potatoes to cook for her family. She later borrowed $273 towards purchasing seeds and irrigation tools. She then planted more potatoes, as well as plots of carrots, beets, beans, and squash. “The food we grow not only provides income but it keeps us strong. Medicine is hard to find here. So we use special drinks made of carrots for our eyes, and beets help keep our blood healthy," Juana said. Juana has since taken out larger loans to invest further in her harvest. She is learning new techniques and new crops to plant to improve her sales in the face of the dry spell. Now she is passing on her tradition of working the land to her children, while encouraging them to stay in school. Juana now urges other women in her small community to empower themselves through microloans.
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