Single moms never have it easy – especially those living in impoverished communities like Sucre in central Bolivia.
Alejandrina, a baker and a member of the savings group "Las Benecidas", raised four children in Sucre without much help from her absent husband. When educational options for her oldest daughters suddenly dissolved, she decided to move her family of six south to Tarija.
"My daughters were getting bigger and in the community they couldn't continue with their studies," she told our partner Semillas de Bendicion (Seeds of Blessings). "People told me that in Tarija there were opportunities for women to study and for businesses."
Upon arriving in the city, however, Alejandrina felt lost. She first took a job washing clothes but made barely enough to survive. She certainly didn't have enough to put her oldest daughters back in school.
But then a friend taught her how to bake bread. Alejandrina realized that she could actually make some profit by selling bread in her community.
Around that time, she also joined a Five Talents savings and loan group. With her first loan of 100 bolivianos ($14), she went to the market and bought flour and other ingredients that she needed to make bread.
"I made more bread than ever and I sold all of it," she said.
The loan boosted Alejandrina's profit margin, finally allowing her to buy the necessary materials for her children's education in Tarija.
"Every day, I am dedicated to this business, and my older daughters help me by taking care of the little ones while I sell the bread. I am happy because all of them are studying."
Alejandrina's 13-year-old daughter Janeth (pictured here) is happy, too. "I give thanks to my mom for all of her effort so that we can study," she said. "If I could save as much as her I would buy lots of flowers to give to her."