At the end of March, Amigos celebrated a graduation ceremony with 16 of our microcredit beneficiaries. It was a family event, as beneficiaries brought spouses, parents, kids, and even grandchildren to share in the special day. As part of the ceremony, each participant received a check with all the interest paid during the five years of the project. On average, the beneficiaries received around $268 in interest!
As a member of the economic development team, what makes me so proud is the perseverance these beneficiaries showed during some very difficult years. The last five years have been marked by a crippling pandemic, inflation, hurricanes, and drought. Despite these many challenges, all 16 graduates were able to improve economic independence for their families.
During the graduation, we invited one participant to speak about her experience in the project. Daisy Chavarría lives in Nance Dulce, a community located over two hours away from the Amigos Complex. In addition to being the principal at one of the largest elementary schools in our communities, Daisy finds time to farm and raise cattle.
She began the project in 2018, using her loans to grow corn and other crops. In 2021, Daisy decided to make a switch and use her loan to buy cattle, realizing that it was more profitable for her family. Daisy spoke of her gratitude for Amigos giving her the chance to participate in the project and learn about how to manage her money better. She also expressed how proud she felt as an empowered woman, given the chance to work in a male-dominated field of agriculture and livestock.
Graduations are always bittersweet events. We feel sad as our time working with these families comes to a close. However, we also feel great satisfaction knowing that these families are in a much better place after five years, and that we were fortunate enough to walk alongside them on their journey to economic freedom.
In some of our trainings we talk about the parable of the talents (Matthew 25: 14-30), about how Jesus teaches us that we can’t just bury our talents in the ground. Our calling is to take those talents and use them to multiply and glorify God. Without a doubt, all 16 graduates answered that call and made Him more visible through their hard work and dedication.