Rut Pelaiza’s life made a 180º turn these past few years. Hailing from Abancay (Peru) and a mother of three daughters, she claims to be “very happy” at present, living a life quite different from what she had before.
Rut works as a microfinance officer in Financiera Confianza since 2012. When she applied for this job, she knew that working for the BBVA Microfinance Foundation’s entity in Peru could be a great opportunity for her to overcome her personal problems. After her husband abandoned her years before, she had to raise her children all alone, without even having a roof to reside in, or an income to live by. It was her daughters who gave her strength; along with this, her huge desire to move forward pushed her to do the rest: to trust in herself and give it a try.
“I started to be happier and feel eager to work. I told myself: yes, I can”
“There were so many young university students. I was the only older woman and I thought I wouldn’t make it. But they called from Lima and told me that I passed. Until this moment I’ve always felt undervalued, because my husband used to tell me that I’m worth nothing and that I was the worst for him. All of his family would tell me the same thing.” However, from that moment, things began to change. “I started to be happier and feel eager to work. I told myself: yes, I can”, claims Rut, who kindly granted us this interview.
Rut works in one of the entity’s programs, where credit officers like her go walking, by bus or by car to reach the most remote areas of the country, to capacitate and deliver financial education to those who need them the most. Many of the clients (25%) live in rural areas and in places where access is usually complicated. Half of the entrepreneurs served by Financiera Confianza are women, mostly vulnerable and excluded from formal financial services.
People like this credit officer focus their efforts in serving and helping people who are financially excluded so they can progress through training, something they need to boost their businesses. When she worked for the savings program Ahorro Para Todos, Rut explains the benefits of having savings, and the importance of managing one’s money well, regardless of how little one has. A number of women she works with are illiterate, so she uses rag dolls and speaks to them in their native language so she could be better understood.
Today, Rut looks ahead. She wants to keep on growing, and, above all, to reach the goals that she continually proposes to achieve. These are goals which she hopes to reach hand in hand with the BBVAMF.
Her inspiring story and her enormous courage earned her the recognition of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) last 15th of September, when she was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Life Stories category of the regional contest “Stories of Rural Women in Latin America and the Caribbean”. Her case was selected among 244 testimonies from 18 countries in the region, standing out because of the tenacity with which she has improved her life and that of her daughters, as well as helping so many people who live in difficult economic conditions.
In spite of the difficulties, Rut is happy having two essential things in her life: her daughters and her job. She dreams of many things, but most of all, she dreams of happiness and wellbeing for those who surround her.