Fifteen years ago, Matilde was struggling to support her five children through her small shoe-shining business. The bulk of her financial issues related to loans she took from payday lenders. Due to their high interest rates, she saw little of her shop’s profits herself and was under considerable stress.
In order to make ends meet, Matilde started selling homemade quesadillas from a stall outside her store. The high demand for her food spurred Matilde to refocus her shoe business towards food service. She decided to transform her shoe-shining shop into a restaurant where she could sell her popular quesadillas to more customers.
After a friend introduced Matilde to Grameen America, she quickly used her first loan of $1,500 to invest in cooking pans, plates, chairs and tables for her restaurant. Without the burden of payday loans, Matilde was able to increase her income by 80%, and she was no longer impacted by the stress of paying back high interest loans.
“I have five children. My most precious dream is to be able to help each of them set up a quesadilla restaurant.”
Matilde relishes the opportunity to connect with other business owners at her weekly center meetings and she likes that her loans have progressed in size as she moves through the program. Now on her 13th loan cycle, Matilde recently invested in three refrigerators, a grill and a van. New refrigerators have allowed Matilde to save money by buying bulk orders, and her van has afforded her the ability to cater to large events and flea markets.
Matilde believes that Grameen America has given her the head start she needed to transform her life. Matilde is saving regularly through the support of the program and hopes to inspire her children to join her business one day.