Monday, May 12, 2014

Monday, September 30, 2013

Exciting news from the Microcredit project!

Señora Melendez has been selling tortillas for 25 years
and now employs three people. She has her 4th microloan
from the microloan fund established by the Caring Fund and
administered by El Pueblo de Dios en Camino.
In January of 2012, volunteers from our sister parish in San Ramon, El Salvador, awarded their very first microloans, ranging from $50-$200.

Through the Caring Fund, parishioners at St. Brendan the Navigator worked together with our brothers and sisters in El Salvador to design a microcredit lending program that fills an urgent need for poor families in San Ramon.

For many people in San Ramon, good-quality permanent jobs are hard to come by, and many find that they need to create their own source of income. Unfortunately, most poor people do not have access to credit from traditional financial institutions, and most don't even have bank accounts, let alone a credit card. Because they are poor and have no collateral, traditional banks generally see poor people as high-risk borrowers and won't lend to them. Some manage to get loans from unscrupulous loan sharks who charge as much as 50% interest daily, often forcing borrowers to pay their loan back by the end of the day. Before the Caring Fund established this microcredit fund, Señora Melendez (pictured above) used to pay $80 a month interest on a loan of $200.

As part of our 2011 Advent Sharing Project, we raised a total of $15,000. Of this, $5,000 funded the installation of water cisterns in Las Nubes, and $10,000 was the endowment of a microcredit fund. When the volunteers implementing the program in San Ramon had organized the administrative framework, we sent an initial $2,000 to finance the first few rounds of microloans, with the remaining $8,000 contingent upon successful implementation of the project, proper record keeping, and favorable results. As you can see from the table to the left, the results are OUTSTANDING.

In just 18 months, El Pueblo de Dios en Camino has taken $2,000 and turned it into 66 small loans totaling over $10,000. These loans have gone to 27 women and four men and generated more than $500 in interest. By carefully selecting the borrowers from within the community and providing them with business training and support, as well as training on human rights and character building, they have maintained a high level of integrity and effectiveness. In fact, only one of the first 66 loans is behind on payments, and the interest payments have added 25% to the fund’s endowment in 18 months. Microcredit programs are demonstrating what church teachings have been saying for centuries: All people are worthy. Not only are they worthy of trust, but worthy of investment. Traditional banks deem poor people high-risk borrowers because they lack capital and assets that can be used as collateral. Yet ironically, the San Ramon program lends to some of the poorest people in the hemisphere and is boasting better repayment and faster growth rates than many traditional banks.

Here is a brief list of some of the businesses the microcredit fund of El Pueblo de Dios en Camino has helped fund:
  • Tortilla sales 
  • Printing services (A $150 loan can buy a printer and ink that allows someone to open a small scale printing service in a community where personal printers and computers are not common) 
  • Urban egg farm 
  • Sewing shop 
  • Fruit stand 
  • Clothes shop (Even just $100 is enough for someone to go and buy discounted clothing such as underwear at bulk rates, and bring it back to the community to sell.)
  • Shoe making 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Arrival and Installation of the tanks!

The two water cisterns, financed by the Caring Fund's 2011 Advent Sharing Project, arrived to the mountain community of Las Nubes. Below, you can see some pictures from the community and the preparations they made for the installation. The whole community helped prepare the site, carry the bricks, and install the tanks.
You can learn more about the community of Las Nubes and the trouble they have with clean water by visiting this link, a blog post written by Alison McKellar after she and a delegation from Our Lady of Good Hope Parish visited the community back in 2007.
Several years ago, after learning about the Las Nubes Community and their need for water storage barrels, members of the church worked with a local donor to purchase 12 barrels for the community to store water. Read more here.
Children wait eagerly for the tanks to arrive.

This is how the community got most of their water before the tanks. They will still need to transport water from the cisterns to their homes, but the distance they need to carry the water is now significantly less.
Breaking ground for the tank installations.
Some materials arriving for the foundation of the tanks.

Carrying bricks from the delivery truck down the road to the site where the cisterns will be placed.

Even the youth in the community helped prepare the site.

More site preparation


Monday, November 28, 2011

Sharing Project of the Caring Fund

The Sharing Project 
of the   Caring Fund

This year during Advent, the three parishes that make up the St. Brennan Parish Community are joining together to support our brothers and sisters in San Ramon, El Salvador. Together we will raise $15,000 for two important projects that offer us an opportunity to practice the most essential pillar of our faith and Jesus' vision... that we are all one. 

$5,000 will provide two resin coated water storage tanks for the collecting and storing of clean water for the remote and desperately poor community of Las Nubes, on the edge of the San Salvador Volcano on the outskirts of San Ramon, El Salvador.

$10,000 will be used to start a microcredit lending fund, to provide small loans of $50-$200 as startup capital for small businesses.