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Interest-free micro credits: From slave to woman entrepreneur...

Acting where there is a void in the system

Since 1994 Voix Libres has introduced an informal system of microfinance in Bolivia, which takes over there where the banking and state systems are lacking: marginalized populations in the prisons, garbage dumps, remote villages and mines.

Since 1994 Voix Libres has introduced an informal system of microfinance in Bolivia, which takes over there where the banking and state systems are lacking: marginalized populations in the prisons, garbage dumps, remote villages and mines.

Offrez un micro-crédit

The micro credit is not money thrown away, it is money which remains in a lasting revolving fund. Its effectiveness lies in the fact that it helps many families in succession. To give a micro credit is to multiply your generosity and participate in an act of justice through which the poorest become creators of beauty and hope.

Capital for a new start…

For the beneficiary the credit constitutes un-hoped for seed capital ($30) that is enough to leave a miserable job and initiate an independent activity in trade or handicrafts. As soon as the borrower has reimbursed the loan, he/she has access to a second or third loan (of $50 $100), which thereby acts as a strong lever to raise the person to self-sufficiency. The granting of a loan is accompanied by training in the Voix Libres rehabilitation centers. Women are the main beneficiaries of micro credits (80%). By signing a contract, they commit to following literacy and family planning courses with their husbands.

Growth, income…and vocations

Micro-credits constitute investments that generate new sustainable activities : vegetable and flower cultivation, poultry raising, sewing workshops, bakeries, handicrafts activities and grocery shops. Each activity leads to additional improvements that are beneficial for the whole community and initiate new vocations.

Thanks to micro-credits, hundreds of families have been able to leave the mines last year to create small businesses in the most inhospitable regions.

The key to success : Intensive accompaniment…

  1. Literacy and training in accounting

  2. Continuous communication between the women of PotosĂ­ and the team in Geneva

  3. Human rights training

  4. Plenary meetings every Saturday (for up to 500 women)

  5. Family planning meetings

  6. Self-defense workshops

  7. Training in small business management

Impressive results from group micro-credits

  • In 1999 the women had about eight children on average; today they don’t want more than four.

  • Most of the women don’t allow themselves to be abused in a context where statistics indicate that some 7 out of 10 women in Potosi are beaten.

  • The women who have suffered have become leaders and manage their own small businesses.

  • The women are no longer victims, but have become protagonists and responsible for the development of their communities.

  • Fewer children work in the mines and more children go to school.

In the prisons and garbage dumps of Cochabamba, the most excluded have also been able to acquire a new financial autonomy and above all the great pride of being able to provide for their children. They have gained new confidence in their capacity to undertake and to transmit in turn their knowledge to others … and total confidence in Voix Libres which does not charge interest, except in the form of community work, solidarity or products.


Maison dans les mines du Cerro Rico

The home of a woman miner...the bed is of stone and sleeps 7,
while temperatures
drop to -10C at night.

Nourrir une famille
Feeding a family with a monthly income of 30 USD...

boulangerie
Restored joy and dignity thanks to interest-free micro-credits

Tricoteuses
Knitting workshop producing rainbow scarves on the banks of Lake Titicaca

vendeuse de miel
Production and sale of honey

Offrez un micro-crédit