Maria from Lake Atitlan, Guatemala lives with her husband, mother-in-law and her three sons. Before starting her own business she had a job weaving bracelets.
One day I heard my neighbours talking about an organisation that was helping local women. Seven of us formed a group and we each took a small microloan. I used mine to buy thread and all the materials I needed to start my own business.
I used to be an employee, now I’m the boss!
That was four years ago. Now my business is so successful I employ 25 people. We make headbands and clothes too and sell them to wholesalers from nearby markets in Chichicastenango, Panajahcel and Antigua.
My husband travels to town once a week to buy materials. My oldest children help with the business too; preparing the thread when they come home from school. My mother-in-law teaches us little tricks to avoid twisting the thread and to use the loom faster.
My profits started so small but now they are very big. I’ve been able to buy my family’s first proper bed and school uniforms for my children. I’m really proud to be a boss. I can see my employees working hard and my business growing and I feel really happy.