Poverty. Gang violence. Medical issues.
These are just a few of the challenges Rosemary has faced in her life.
In her small, rural community of La Labor, El Salvador, rival gangs are often battling in the streets. She learned from an early age to navigate the town with caution. At the age of eight, she suffered not at the hands of the gangs but from a tragic accident—one that burned her body entirely and has caused life-long health complications.
Things haven’t been much easier for Rosemary as an adult, but she manages to maintain a positive attitude and a resolute faith. She has always been entrepreneurial, too, and her innovative spirit has never wavered.
So, when she and her brother were facing unemployment in 2010, they decided to start a small business together.
The closest market to La Labor is an hour away, so they knew there was local demand for more convenient access to produce and other staples.
They began buying eggs at the market and bringing them back to La Labor to re-sell. Their business was an instant hit, and demand for eggs was so high, that they decided to offer other goods, too.
Now, the people of La Labor could walk five minutes—instead of traveling an hour—to get sugar, dairy, bottled water, and other items.
After a few years of progress, Rosemary’s brother sold his part of the business and Rosemary took over management.
Shortly after, she met and married her husband, Marco, and he began to help with the store, too. As they grew the business, they also grew their family.
Their spirited daughter Alejandra is now four years old and she brings them great joy with her enthusiastic spirit and love for learning. They are also eagerly expecting a baby, though Rosemary’s pregnancy is currently high-risk—the result of a kidney infection she suffered two years ago due to a lack of clean water.
Still, Rosemary has kept her focus on creating a brighter future for herself and her family.
In addition to operating their small store, she also opened a chicken processing business. With both businesses growing, she soon realized she needed access to capital to keep up with the demand. She asked for loans from local lenders, which they provided, but she soon realized they were charging her very high interest rates.
These “loan sharks” operate in low-income communities across the globe and often take advantage of the lack of formal financial institutions in the area. Though they provide easy access to capital, their extremely high interest rates and strict policies often further entrap people in debt and poverty.
Rosemary worried this would be her fate. That was, until she met Israel, a Credit Officer from Credatec in 2016.
We partner with Credatec and a team of volunteer Business Affiliates to provide business training, mentoring, and access to capital to entrepreneurs and farmers in El Salvador.
Israel realized Rosemary was paying too much interest on her current loans. He helped her develop a loan consolidation plan and she began to pay them off. Israel and Rosemary also worked together to develop a formal business plan.
With her businesses reestablished, Rosemary received a loan from Credatec to help grow her chicken processing business.
Then, with her businesses still growing, Rosemary received another loan from Credatec. In addition to access to capital, Israel has also remained by Rosemary’s side—providing her with ongoing technical assistance and mentoring.
As a result of this support from Credatec, help from her husband Marco, and her own hard work and persistence, Rosemary has steadily grown both businesses.
Her chicken processing business in particular is thriving. In just two years, she has doubled production! She now employs seven people in her community and hopes to continue creating even more jobs in the months and years to come.
Rosemary’s success has allowed her to significantly improve her family’s living conditions. She and Marco are especially grateful for this, since they will soon be a family of four!
With gratitude for how God has blessed her, Rosemary reinvests in her community by being involved with local community development efforts.
She stands as a hopeful example to others, too, that a better life is indeed possible in La Labor. As someone who once struggled to find a job, Rosemary is now the proud owner of two businesses. As a woman born into generational poverty, Rosemary has broken that cycle for herself and her family. And through creating jobs, she is allowing others to do the same.