Dalila Nicolasa Méndez has been the sole provider for her 8 children since her husband passed away several years ago. In the past, she worked as a day laborer on farms and harvesting coffee to support her children, but struggled to make ends meet.
With the goal of increasing her income and providing a better life for her children, Doña Dalila decided to go to work in Managua as a home attendant and left her two smallest children in the care of her grandmother. She returned to her community of Mojón, Jinotega in April to visit her children before the crisis broke out in Nicaragua. Due to the sociopolitical situation, Doña Dalila wanted to stay close to her children and take care of them personally, so she decided not to return to Managua. However, she still had to figure out how to support her children.
To pay the bills, Doña Dalila began a small business baking and selling bread in the community, but she was struggling to get it off the ground until she applied for and received a small loan of $142 from the Mojón community fund. Community members who receive houses in Mojón pay back $10 per month for a total of about 20% of the cost of the house into this community fund. Community leaders then manage the money according to the needs of the community. They may fund larger infrastructure projects or give out loans to struggling community members.
This credit provided the boost her business needed, and Doña Dalila now bakes bread (both wheat flour and cornbread) twice a week. Her children are her helpers and sell the bread in the community. She also makes enchiladas and other fast food to sell throughout the week. Doña Dalila earns a profit of $45 per month from her small business, which is enough to cover the cost of most basic items in the household, including sugar, oil, and rice; her older children grow beans for family consumption and help out in other ways.
For Doña Dalila, this loan from the community fund has represented the opportunity to stay at home with her children and be able to take care of them during a difficult moment in the country. She says, “I hope to continue with my business and make it grow. I thank God for this loan because it has allowed me to stay close to my children and provide for them.”