Loans for Antiqua Women Businesses

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by Mary Coward RC Victoria Harbourside, Canada

I am writing to see if your club might be willing to partner in the support of a microloan/business education project with Namaste in Antigua.

Our club Victoria Harbourside (and other Rotary partners) has a Global Grant with Namaste for business training for 140 women. Each woman receives a nine-month program of business training and support. Namaste has continued to enroll new clients and support their existing clients through monthly phone calls from the business advisors. Each woman also receives a micro loan. Namaste has been able to offer micro loans to new clients from their own funds. However, their loan fund is now running short as they have had to defer repayments because of covid.

We are hoping to raise $21,725 USD to fund loans of $395 USD to each of the remaining 55 new clients in the program. Our club has committed $10,000. We are reaching out to other partners to reach our goal. Attached is an info sheet on the project.

Would your club be able to participate? All levels of donation are welcome. We can let you know which women and which businesses you are supporting. And once the loans are repaid, the funds will stay in the micro loan fund for new clients.

Please contact me as soon as possible should you wish to join in this great project.

Your help is needed!


Namaste Direct has successfully supported women entrepreneurs and their families in the district of Sacatepequez, Guatemala since the 1980’s, providing business training and small microloans, to enable them to grow their small businesses. Namaste’s success in moving women away from poverty and improving the wellbeing of their communities is proven. Read more about Namaste in The Rotarian magazine, August, 2020. Through a 2018 Global Grant sponsored by Rotary Victoria Harbourside and the Rotary Club of Antigua, with contributions by other Rotary partners*, 85 women are growing their businesses and improving the health and education of their families and 55 are about to start the program.

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COVID-19 has been a major disruptor of the program. Namaste program participants have suffered business losses due to pandemic lockdowns and many have had to delay repayment of their loans. Normally, Namaste Direct would use these repayments to grant microloans to new cohorts of women taking their business development program. Namaste is seeking support in rebuilding their microloan capacity to ensure continuation of this highly effective and much needed support for economic development among the poor.


As economies are opening up again, 55 women entrepreneurs currently in Namaste’s business program are in need of microloans (averaging $395 USD each). Rotary Victoria Harbourside will contribute $10,000 of the $21,725 USD required to support these women in creating growth and stability in their family income. Will your club partner with us to support Namaste’s work by providing direct funding? 100% of your contribution will be used for micro-lending and, once repaid to Namaste, will continue to provide microloans for future participants in the program.


Perhaps individual (or a group of) Rotarians would be willing to personally sponsor one or more women in the program at a cost of $525 CDN? Namaste will provide information about the recipient(s) of your microloan and their progress.

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This is a great Rotary opportunity to make a big difference in someone’s life. Please contact Mary Coward (marycoward@shaw.ca) or Michele Parkin (michelemparkin@hotmail.com) to pledge today.

 

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*We would like to thank our current Rotary partners for their support. RC Cobble Hill, RC Pierce County, RC Sooke, RC Comox, RC Traverse City (Michigan), RC Portland (Oregon)

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