Virginia Ines – Food shop (El Alto, La Paz, Bolivia)
Virginia is a member of the “Las Favoritas” communal bank which has nine members shown in the photo. The members of Las Favoritas have various types of businesses, including selling food, clothes, blankets and building items such as cut bricks and plaster. Virginia began with a cheese business a few years ago and is now expanding to increase her stock of other food items such as rice and noodles which the loan will allow her to but in bulk and therefore at lower prices. Her income from the business is used to help support her household. She is married and the couple have four children.
The loan is provided by Pro Mujer Bolivia which offers loan capital for women’s small-scale businesses and provides opportunities to save a portion of their profits through the communal bank structure. Group-oriented communal banks such as Las Favoritas are favored by Bolivian and other women traditionally accustomed to working in community groups.