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.
Elena is one of these women. She is 41 years old and lives in a little town called Chuachinup, Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan, Sololá. When she was small she only went to 1st grade, but later in life she participated in reading and writing classes and was able to finish 4th grade Primary School. She is married and has four children (two of them have emigrated to the United States). She speaks K´iche. She has been working with Namaste in the business development program since October 2014, and has gone through financial education and advisory for 27 months (three 9 months cycles) in a solidarity group.
When she began, Elena made clothing and had a monthly profit of $300 on sales of $1,700. Since then she has followed her business advisor’s advice and introduced new products and designs and added a line of jewelry. She also improved her system for charging clients monthly if they are unable to pay upfront. As a resulth her monthly profits have increased to $1,650 on sales of $6,880. Due to this great performance, Namaste was happy to accept her into the 18 month Cycle Four program with a loan of $2,000. Her financial education and advice continues on an individual basis.
Elena plans to employ her two daughters in the business as she is publicizing her business, opening new markets in the Santa Catarina area and introducing more casual clothing for the new generation. Her profit goal is $2,000 a month and her long-term dream to become a distributor of clothing and jewelry. She has been able to finish her house and invest in a small coffee planting with savings made from her business. With determination and her newly learned skills, the future looks rosy!