FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 29, 2010
Five Talents International
P.O. Box 331
Vienna, VA 22183
With a Little Corn and Confidence, Máxima's Life is Transformed
Vienna, VA -- Máxima Campos faced the unthinkable as a mother.
At each meal, she tried to divide the small amount of food she cooked equally among her seven children. But, it never failed. She never had enough. And her 4-year-old, Paola, would always cry saying she needed more – her mother had none to give.
Her children also regularly got sick, but she came up empty-handed once again when they needed medicines. She had no money to purchase them.
Máxima tried securing a variety of jobs in her hometown of Tarija, Bolivia – domestic employee, launderer, seamstress – but found herself without work. Her husband is a builder, but his income wasn’t enough to cover the basic expenses of their family.
“I didn’t know what to do to live,” she recalls.
Without the help of Five Talents, Máxima faced an uncertain future and an ongoing struggle to feed and care for her family.
According to UNICEF, 2.5 million children and 2.6 million women live in conditions of poverty in Bolivia. The causes of death in children under age 5 are directly associated with poverty – with an estimated 28% resulting from malnutrition.
While trying to figure out how to provide for her family, two women visited her home. That was the day Máxima experienced the provision of Christ in a very tangible way.
These women invited her to join a local Five Talents savings group. They told her that she would find support from other mothers in her neighborhood who were trying to care for their children while living in difficult circumstances.
“They also gave me two chickens and a little bit of feed,” Máxima remembers. “They told me that the chickens would grow and that they would supply my family with eggs.”
Bolivia is one of the poorest and least developed countries in Latin America. In Bolivia, 65% of the population lives below the poverty line and 23% live in extreme poverty – living on less than $1 a day.
Because of the love of Christ demonstrated to Máxima by members of her savings group, she gained self-confidence, conquered her timidity, found the courage to start a small business and took out a loan of $14!
“Before joining the savings group, thinking about saving money seemed impossible and inconceivable,” Máxima said. “But God loves me so much because He showed me that I can save and that I need to save so that I can do very good things with my savings. All I have to do is leave my savings in God’s hands.”
As the days passed, each morning Máxima would throw the corn feed on the ground for the chickens. She was thankful for the eggs they were producing, but something new was happening – some of the seed she had thrown on the ground had taken root!
“Great was my surprise when I suddenly realized that corn stalks were growing in my yard, and now I have a little bit of corn. This gave me hope because I realized I could help my family by cooking corn to sell,” she said.
With this unexpected asset, she started a small business out of her home but needed help. So, she again turned to her savings group, where she was able to take out a second loan.
But, Máxima faced another obstacle. She was incredibly shy.
“I was so shy that I wouldn’t even go to the hospital if I or someone in my family got sick, because I was scared to speak with people,” she said.
However, as a member of the savings group, Máxima learned to conquer her fear and timidity and run her business with confidence.
Becoming a Leader
As her confidence grew, her children and neighbors took notice, and Máxima was chosen to be the neighborhood Secretary of Health.
“They really surprised me," she said. “Especially since a year before, I was so shy that I couldn’t go to the hospital alone and I would just endure any pain I was feeling so that I didn’t have to go. Now I am going to be in charge of making sure all of the kids received proper attention regarding their health.”
“I know that to God I am very important,” Máxima said. “If it wasn’t for Him my family wouldn’t have a roof over our heads to live. I don’t have my own house, and we live in a single room with a kitchen, but at least I have this. And, I have health and hands to work and we are never lacking food at my table.”
As Máxima works, she radiates the spirit of Proverbs 31 to her children.
“She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. Her children stand and bless her.”
“We are grateful for our mom because she loves us so much — she cooks for us, when we want to talk she listens, she encourages us to study and she works so that we can have something to eat,” said her children Antonia and Jorge. “Jesus loves her so much because she always wants to help other people and she always tells us to study a lot so that when we are big we can help other people.”
On Mother’s Day they plan to make her hand-made gifts.
“But she always tells us that the best gift a mom can have is the love of her children. So, on Mother’s Day we give her lots of hugs and kisses,” said Antonia and Jorge.
Established in 1999, Five Talents International has provided funding for business training and thousands of loans, ranging from $50 to $300, in 14 countries across Africa, Asia, and Central and South America. A majority of the loan recipients are women.
Five Talents’ ongoing work is supported by a staff based in Vienna, Va., and an office in London. Hundreds of volunteers across the United States and United Kingdom participate in the organization.