Ana Garcia is a 35-year-old mother of two, a fish vendor and a Pro Mujer client. Ana will journey to New York to share her experiences at our 2009 Benefit on October 29th. This is Ana’s story:
My name is Ana Luz Garcia. I was born in Poneloya, a small coastal town in León, in northwest Nicaragua. When I was 15, I began to work for some fisherman cleaning fish, they paid me for my work with couple fish, which I would bring home to share with my family.
This is where I met the father of my children. We had three children together, two girls and one boy, but the oldest girl died just 2 days after she was born.
My partner abandoned me and our 2 children when I was only 20 years old. I had to do my homework of searching for a means of subsistence so that I could maintain my home. Some fisherman gave me some fish to sell on consignment. I left the house early everyday and took the bus to the city of Leon, where I would stay until I sold all the fish.
One afternoon, almost 13 years ago, a credit officer from Pro Mujer arrived and held a meeting for a group of women in Poneloya. She explained how Pro Mujer worked through communal banks, which I liked because it allowed us women with small businesses to support one another and take out a loan and receive healthcare. I joined a communal bank called Playa Hermosa, or Beautiful Beach, and with my first loan of $40, I bought seafood in bulk and my business began to grow.
In 2006, I went to a Pro Mujer’s health clinic for my regular pap smear and found out that I had the beginnings of cervical cancer. With support from Pro Mujer, I received treatment at the hospital and recovered. Today I am healthy. Pro Mujer helped me discover my illness early, which saved my life.
Pro Mujer taught me to take control of my life. My business is strong, my children go to school, and we are healthy. I have saved more than $1000. I just used half my savings to buy a van for my business. And, I am saving the other half for my children’s education and improvements to the house. My communal bank is a supportive community that inspires me to keep moving forward. I want to continue improving my business and my house, and see my children succeed. I will stay with Pro Mujer to achieve it all.
Watch a short interview and video of Ana Garcia at the market in Leon: