Fatima – clothing business leads to home ownership
Fatima and her young family had been living with her mom and then with her mother-in-law when she heard about a savings group offered by Diaconia, HOPE International’s partner in Paraguay. Unhappy in her housekeeping job that paid poorly and kept her from her son, she joined the group and took out her first loan to start a business selling clothing.
Savings groups in the HOPE Network give underserved populations access to quality financial services with ease, unlike traditional financial institutions that require a lot of documentation to get started or loan sharks that charge predatory interest rates.
Today, Fatima has a clothing shop set up on the porch of her home – a home she purchased with the proceeds from her very own business! “Here in my house, I sell, I earn my money, I take care of my son, I take care of my house, I don’t have to go anywhere. I’m here all day, and thanks to God, I sell well.” She also takes orders via WhatsApp and Facebook; her husband delivers the orders to her customers with a vehicle Fatima bought for him.
Fatima said she started selling clothes because they sell well and there’s good turnover. Over the past several years, Fatima has been able to take bigger and bigger loans to expand her business. She has also taken advantage of the free classes offered by Diaconia, learning about crocheting, sandal decorating, jewelry making, and thermos design – all of which have allowed her to diversify and personalize the products she provides. She says, “I know my customers and what they like, and I bring it to them.” As Fatima has interacted with Diaconia staff, her spiritual interest has grown!
She’d like to open her own salon. She has already started building a separate building on her property. Fatima would continue to sell clothing as well as begin doing hair and nails. Thanks to her involvement in the savings group, Fatima’s family is flourishing and has hope for the future. “The thing I feel most proud of is that many people said I couldn’t, but I could. I have a house, and by myself—I mean from my own money, from what I do—I’m moving forward with my business.”