María Emperatriz Mosquera Rivas is 34-years-old and lives in the Mirador district of the municipality of Bello. She is the divorced mother of three children, ages 10,14, and 16, and the sole supporter of her family, because her ex-husband makes no contributions. She has a degree in public administration and also in food science. However, despite her training in these two areas, she had found it impossible to find work.
Then, María began to turn her life around. “One day I was desperate,” she says, “because we had nothing to eat and there was no work. I didn’t know where to turn. I left my children home alone and went to a neighbor’s house to see if she could give me any suggestions.” In the end, her neighbor loaned María 40,000 pesos (US$20) to start a small tamale business. María took the money and bought ingredients and she also made a list of friends who she thought would be potential buyers.
María continued making tamales and selling them in neighborhood stores and to her friends. Now she had a bigger market, but no working capital. Then she remembered hearing about WWB-Medellín. She decided to go to see if they could help her out. WWB-Medellín approved a loan of 300,000 pesos (US$150) over eight months. María invested it in her business and her success has continued.
Since María has been with WWB-Medellín, she has changed her whole life. Her family’s standard of living is much higher and she says that now she feels useful because she is doing something productive and she can take responsibility for her family. “Today I thank God because I have a new vision for my life,” María says, “Someday I’d like to export my products and have a brand name of my own.”