When entrepreneurship helps defeat inequality

The only obstacle Adelaida can’t deal with is the rain, which can turn Capira -her village- into a mud bath, so that the only way of getting in or out of it is on horseback. Her home-based business is about 30 kilometers by dirt track from La Chorrera, in Panama.

All of her 200 neighbors know her because she runs a small store. She also raises chickens and grows coffee with which she creates jobs in her community. Sometimes she takes on as many as seven locals, she says, because she believes that when there is no equality, there must be opportunities.

She has never heard of SDG 10, or of any of the other Goals, but it is clear that day by day, she is contributing to reduce inequality, whether she knows it or not. Adelaida has become the head of her household. And the way she tells it, it all started years ago, when she heard on the radio that the Foundation’s institution in her country provided opportunities for enterprising people. That very same day, she took a bus and since then, she has never stopped moving forward.

She declares that she has done so well that she is prepared to take the risk of being ambitious. Now she wants to buy a car so that she can sell her products beyond her village and more importantly, if there is an emergency she can come to the aid of her children and neighbors, without having to wait three hours for the bus to come through to take them to the nearest hospital, or sometimes even until the next day if the emergency happens during the night.

She has already seen what she can achieve with small loans and she knows that she can rely on technical advice from the Foundation’s officers to help her achieve her goals and continue to prosper. “Thanks to them I know how much financing I can access and what I am able to repay, and also thanks to them I am up to date with my repayments”, she says.

She does all this while living in a house that is no longer at the mercy of the rain. “My house was made out of palm stalks and the floor was beaten dirt. But with the Casafin loan we were able to put on a zinc roof and a concrete floor,” she says, explaining the refurbishment that was made possible through one of the products of the Foundation in Panama. “We even installed solar panels for electricity, which we didn’t have.”

Adelaida says that neither she nor her husband Evaristo, who helps her in all her activities, nor her five children, have any doubts about their capacity to invest in products that will take them all much further than the dirt tracks between her and the city, and allow her to keep progressing.