Pura Parada Hurtado
La Reforma, Bolivia
Client of Accion partner BancoSol
When Pura Parada Hurtado’s husband died a few months before this picture was taken in late 2008, she and her son Wilson were left to care for their dairy farm. When they bought this land 20 years ago, they relied on a loan to make the purchase. Confronted with the fierce competition that has pervaded Bolivia’s agricultural market, Pura’s family sought a loan from Accion partner BancoSol to buy more cattle and machinery. In a short while, she found herself managing six employees who live on her farm. Patting her favorite cow named Isa, Pura says, “We’ve always been clients of the bank. Everything we’ve done has been with loans.”
Despite being 75 at the time of this photo and starting her work days at 4 a.m., Pura claims, proudly, “My dream is to continue what I’m doing, repay my loan.”
After long and arduous years of farm labor, it can be hard to imagine anyone with such determination and drive to succeed. But this is the story we hear, client after client, of hardworking men and women who just need a chance to get ahead.
But reaching out to people who live in remote areas, such as Pura, is not easy. Long distances, deeply rutted dirt roads and washed out bridges separate the rural poor from programs that can help them improve their standard of living. Yet the need is great: Families in rural Latin America not only have larger households, fewer assets and less education than their urban counterparts, but 90 percent of them also lack access to financial services.
This is why Accion is creating a replicable model for rural microfinance in Latin America. Supported in part by a grant from the Inter-American Development Bank, Accion and five of its long-term partners have set out to demonstrate that serving the rural poor with microfinance is sustainable. The project was launched in 2009 and initial pilots are already reaching 130,000 of the 200,000 people the project seeks to serve by 2013.
As for Pura, she knows firsthand how financial tools can help create opportunity. “It would be difficult to build this business without the bank—we wouldn’t have the capital to do it.”
To learn more about Accion’s work in Latin America, visit www.accion.org/latinamerica.