Sewing Machine 

$90 for a Sewing Machine

A new sewing machine can help the poor stitch their way to success. Your donation can boost access to microfinance for a tailor or seamstress enabling them to dramatically increase their productivity in creating handmade clothes, bed sheets and more for sale.

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Antonia Pereira, tailor and client of Accion partner Crediamigo, Anamari, Brazil

Antonia Pereira rises at 7 a.m. most days and works until sunset, embroidering bolts of colorful fabric for dresses and bedsheets. Since leaving school in the fourth grade, Antonia has helped to support her family with her skills as a seamstress. Now 59, she runs a small but successful sewing business from her home in Anamari, Brazil, selling her products to tourists in Fortaleza, a city on Brazil’s northeastern coast.

Antonia’s broad smile belies the hardship she has endured to achieve financial stability. Ten years ago, when a younger sister passed away, Antonia and her sister, Maria José, were left to care for five young children, all under the age of 10. The demands of supporting their large family, coupled with the fluctuating demands of tourist season, limited the business’ growth. “I could only afford to make 10 dresses per month,” she recalls. “I almost gave up.”

Knowing she needed capital to grow her business, she joined a local Crediamigo solidarity group in 2004 to secure a loan. In 1998, Accion had partnered with Banco do Nordeste to guide them through launching Crediamigo, a microfinance subsidiary that would provide microentrepreneurs like Antonia with access to financial services vital to business growth. For Antonia, initial capital of just US$150 enabled her to buy a greater variety of colored thread for more complex designs. With subsequent loans, she bought her first electric sewing machine. “Now I am embroidering 50 dresses a month, and I am sewing designs on bedsheets as well,” she proudly states. The more dresses she makes, the more she sells, and additional income means the bills are paid and the children can stay in school. “Loans have really helped me with taking care of five children,” Antonia says with a smile.

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