Silvia Gonzales just needed someone to reach her community, to look her in the eyes as they talked and, speaking in a language she understood, to tell her that it is possible to have a better life. At her 40 years, her life in in the rural community of Tambo (Abancay), like that of many unmarried mothers in the rural parts of Peru, was not easy. With four children, without any help from their fathers, and without her own home, she scraped a living to feed her children, sometimes by breeding hens, guinea pigs and sometimes from the sale of her handwoven textiles. The little she earned was all for her children.
One day an officer from Financiera Confianza’s Saving for Everyone [Ahorro para Todos] program invited her to a training session. She decided to go and from that day on, her life changed. She gradually started realizing that formal saving was safer and gave her an order so that she could plan her future. “I’ve been saving in Financiera Confianza for a year. Before I used to think that I didn’t have control of my money. Now I know that I do. When I am ill, or when my children are ill, I take money from there. Before this my brothers and sisters used to lend me money which I paid back in installments, but now I don’t have to bother them. I like Financiera”, she says.
Silvia is a weaver, making her ponchos, blankets and other products, full of color and artistry, to order and also selling them at fairs. She adds to her income by looking after animals (cows, chickens and guinea pigs) which she feeds and protects from thieves. ““The life I had was a sad one, but now I am getting ahead, fighting on my own, for my children. I weave everything, small articles of clothing, blankets, bedcovers … Whenever I make a sale, I put the money in the bank the same day. On one course I learned that if I save I can buy a machine loom, and that would make the work easier, I could make more things in less time” she explains , saying that she is not the same person as she was a year ago. She is a more confident woman, who looks after her money carefully and is hopeful about the future, always with her children in mind.