El Fondo de Apoyo Comunitario Internacional (FAC) is the first grassroots micro-enterprise program in the La Limonada community.
This program is grounded in the idea of providing people with a “hand up” rather than a “hand out”. FAC takes a holistic approach to empower the residents of La Limonada and works with families to build assets, start and expand small businesses, and essentially invest in people’s inherent value and potential.
A joint venture of Lemonade International and CMI (the Carolina Microfinance Initiative group at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), FAC was established in the summer of 2010 by leveraging our community relationships and partnerships, and the students’ resources and skills.
This plan is ambitious and historic. Until this venture began there had not been a quality micro-enterprise program in La Limonada. All MFI organizations we contacted previously were not willing to work in the community, as it is considered a “red zone” (too risky for them to provide loans to borrowers).
We are keenly aware of the challenging nature of this work and are learning much through this process, as well as from the strength and resolve of the people of La Limonada. FAC is currently serving and empowering 14 women from three borrowing groups and has seen borrower income and savings increase by up to 75 and 400 percent respectively – all with a 100% loan repayment rate. Plans in the near future include several additional borrowing and savings groups.
We believe this program has great potential for truly empowering the people of the community and instilling in them a sense of dignity and an understanding of the value they have as God’s children.
We are seeking investors to fund the expansion of the program. Please consider supporting our loan officer’s salary ($325 per month) by making an investment in our Micro-Enterprise Fund.
If you would like more information contact Bill Cummings.
Marta was part of the first micro-finance borrowing group with Lemonade International in 2010. She has been selling a variety of items for years, trying to help support her family along with her husband. Marta has three children, the youngest of which attends the Limón school, along with one granddaughter.
Marta has been a sales vendor for 12 years, selling everything from beauty products to sheets to shoes and cleaning supplies. She has been selling items not only to her own barrio but in other neighborhoods as well. She has made contacts over the years that have allowed her to expand her business, and residents of these other neighborhoods know her and come to her for items that she sells.
Since becoming a part of the micro-finance program, she has been able to grow her business even more. She’s able to purchase more items in advance, which allows her to move her merchandise quickly. She has received training on how to manage her finances more effectively, and the better administration of her money has allowed her to provide more for her family.
She has also learned how to market her business, and how to manage her time better, so that she has a balance with being able to spend the time that she needs with her family.The relationships that have been established with other members of the loan program have also helped Marta to understand the responsibility that comes with the loans.
Through Marta’s ability to build her business, she has been able to build a second level onto her home. Her life and that of her family has become a little bit easier, and for that they are very grateful.