Beyond a Dollar a Day
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Beyond a Dollar a Day
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Mali: Small Loans, Big Impact
Pro Mujer, a development organization working with women in Latin America, started out focusing on training. But it discovered that education only goes so far, and began issuing microloans so that women could start their own businesses and improve not only their lives but also the lives of their families.
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Directed by Mark Galloway.

Originally featured in the ViewChange Online Film Contest.


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Segment 1

Lake Titicaca is home to the Aymara people. It's 4,000 meters above sea level, and the climate is harsh, but there's an entrepreneurial spirit which is beginning to flourish. With the help of a small loan -- microcredit -- Gloria has started her own business. She borrowed just USD$100, but it was enough to buy nets and set up this fish farm on the lake.
My life has changed. Before, I didn't catch many fish, and I was short of money. Now, I'm happy. At least there is something for my children, so they can study, and I can help my family.
Microcredit is a worldwide movement, which began in Bangladesh in the 1970s. It involves giving very small loans to poor entrepreneurs who can't borrow from commercial banks because they have no credit history and nothing to offer as collateral. The microcredit for these women came from a local charity called Pro Mujer, but it has to be paid back with interest.
NALDI DELGADO [Director, Pro Mujer Peru]
Here in the countryside, there are no laws that govern ownership. That's why, when we give a loan, we rely on the woman's word.
The fisherwomen come to the local market every day to sell their catch.
The goal of Pro Mujer is to empower women, so we work a lot on business training. We teach them to establish their earnings and their costs, so that they can be successful in their business.
Francisca and her daughter Sonya have also received a loan from Pro Mujer to set up a fish farm on the lake. Francisca has spent much of her life on the move, trying to earn a living in Lima and other cities.
We've woken up. We women are changing. Things are changing. Yes, we're making progress. I needed USD$100 to get started, then I could buy nets and breed fish. Now, we earn USD$3 a day selling the fish. We can survive on that.
CARMEN VELASCO [Co-founder, Pro Mujer]
I think that one of the biggest differences between Pro Mujer and the rest of ... some other institutions is that, we are, mainly, we're focused on women because we see them as the engine to help their families and to bring their kids to a different level. We have been, from the very beginning, very active listeners, so every single program that we have developed in Pro Mujer was as an answer to what they needed, to what they were asking. That's why, at the beginning, we were only a training institution, and then, little by little, they began to ask more and more. We included health training, and we included business training, and they asked us, "Now we need money to begin a business."