Miriam Amparo Malaga Chora works 14-hour days. The mother of two young girls is a proud and ever busy restaurant owner in the southern Peruvian province of Arequipa. Prior to joining Pro Mujer, Miriam’s business consisted of a small, street food stand. Today, her loyal customers are served lunch and dinner in a comfortable indoor space that she built with the help of her family.
“My whole family works in my business…With Pro Mujer’s support, we have new goals and more products. We are able to capitalize on the business,” says Miriam.
Miriam’s first loan with Pro Mujer was around $300. Over the last five years, that amount has doubled, and so has her payment term. “Before, we faced more hardship,” says Miriam. “With the business, we have enough to treat ourselves once in a while…We are confident that our children won’t starve.”
Being a part of Pro Mujer has helped us grow as women and as a family.
In addition to the loans, Miriam and her family have also benefitted from the health services offered by Pro Mujer. “The Pap test is beneficial to all,” she says. “If we don’t monitor our health, we risk finding out that we have a terminal illness when it’s too late. That’s what the Pap means, taking precautions.”
Whenever there is a mobile Pro Mujer clinic in town, the entire family pays a visit. Miriam’s mother, a diabetic, gets her blood glucose levels measured, saving the family a round-trip to Arequipa, which costs $15, and higher medical fees.
Pro Mujer’s mobile clinics provide a wide range of services in rural and peri-urban areas that would otherwise have null or limited access to health care. “The general public benefits,” says Miriam. “Whoever wants to go is able to; they don’t close their doors to people outside of Pro Mujer.”
While Miriam is cheerful when talking about her long days running the restaurant, she dreams of easier days in her future. “The restaurant is heavy work. In the long term, with Pro Mujer’s support, I hope to have a different kind of business. I want to travel and hire staff.” Miriam also dreams of her daughters having better opportunities than her. “I see parents struggle,” she says. “I tell my kids, ‘You should be thankful. There are kids who wear sandals to school.’ My kids live more comfortably. They don’t have excuses for not doing homework or not doing well in school. They are ahead of the game.”