Each Namaste client receives Business Advice, Financial Education, and a Microloan. Together these assist her in increasing her business profit so she can move from poverty toward middle-class. This journey of up to four nine-month cycles has as its destination the realization of the dream she has for her business and her life. Currently, there are 400 women participating in the Namaste program.
Catarina Cecilia is one of these women. She is 23 years old and lives with her partner and a 1 year old boy in the village of Guineales, Department of Sololá. This area is mostly Mayan (she speaks K´iche and she does not know how to read and write) and there is a lack of roads, schools and health services due to a paucity of government services. Her dream is to support her family economically and to pay for her sibling’s education. Catarina is in her second cycle with Namaste and belongs to a solidarity group know as Panguiney. The group is four women in total, three of them sell typical clothing and one sells french fries and chicken.
Catarina also sells traditional clothing: buying standard blouses in bulk and upgrading them into more personalized items. She sells from her house as well as going door to door and at the market in Guineales on Mondays.
She began her first nine-month training cycle with a loan of $265 and she increased her monthly cash flow profit by 51% from $280 to $425. Advice given in her first cycle included adding clothing for children to her product line and implementing new sales points by going door to door. She learned how to keep better controls of her sales and expenses in her financial literacy classes. Catarina is now in her second cycle with a loan of $535. Her monthly cash flow has now increased to $520, a gain of 96% when compared to when she first started working with Namaste. She continues to enjoy going to her financial literacy classes and works closely with her Business Adviser each month. Her immediate goal is to broaden her product line.