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A Beauty Salon Brings Hope for A Family

Dolores at work in the Dominican Republic.
Photo: ©2011 Claudia Martinez/World Vision

This month our country of focus is the Dominican Republic, where World Vision and the Investment Fund for Enterprise (FIME) are working jointly toward their goal to help 4,917 microentrepreneurs in eight community development areas access credit for the first time. Over 60% of clients are female. The following story was contributed by Claudia Martinez, World Vision.

Dolores, a young woman and mother of two children, used to live in a small wooden house with her family in Sabana Perdida, a community in Dominican Republic. With a low income, her husband barely afforded their needs and sometimes they had nothing to eat.

She recalls how they struggled to feed their three and seven-year- old children: “I felt insecure and worried about my family because we had no way to make ends meet. We had to buy food on credit at the grocery store as my husband’s salary was not enough and money did not last until his next paycheck.”

Dolores continues “I remember one particular day when we had nothing to eat at home and I went to the store to ask for something [to eat]. On that day, the owner was in a bad mood and sent me home empty-handed. I cried a lot as it was hard to see my children hungry.”

During rains of storms that usually affect the Dominican Republic, Dolores feared to see her house destroyed, “Our house was entirely made of wood and it was unsafe. Rain came in when we had storms and I feared it would crumble down on us one day. My husband could not start to rebuild it by his own.”

After Dolores enrolled her two kids into the World Vision´s sponsorship program, Luisa, her neighbor, told her about the vocational training that World Vision was offering to women through FIME, the microfinance subsidiary of World Vision in the Dominican Republic. She enrolled in the free beautician lessons and while she was studying, she started attracting customers who encouraged her to open her own beauty salon.

Dolores received financial advice from FIME and applied for a first small loan of 10,000 Dominican pesos (US$300) to open her business. She bought hair products, a professional blowdryer and a hairdryer. Says Dolores, “I am really happy about all this as our life has changed greatly. Life was completely different when I was not working, but when I started making money, everything changed.” With the extra income Dolores earns, the home conditions of this family have improved, as well as the health of their children.

After a year, Dolores got a second loan for 15,000 Dominican pesos (US$400), which she used to buy one more hairdryer, equipment and hair products. She also used part of the loan to help her husband to improve their house. Now, the house is made out of concrete.

“God has helped us greatly and He has opened many doors,” she says. “Now my dream is to see my children growing up healthy, going to school and getting an education while I expand my business,” says this micro entrepreneur.

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