For Romelia, the answer to the age-old question about which came first, the chicken or the egg, is simple. It was the chicken, with the egg following close behind. And, just in case you’re wondering what came third, the answer is the sweater.
Romelia is the mother of Erasto, 15, a sponsored youth in Unbound’s program in Guatemala. Her husband, also named Erasto, is a day laborer, but work is hard to find. Even with their two oldest children grown and out of the home, the family struggled.
Then Unbound entered their lives. Erasto was sponsored in 2006 by Margaret from West Virginia. His sponsorship brought with it an invitation for Romelia to join the local Unbound mothers group.
The group made a small portion of sponsorship funds available to lend for new livelihood initiatives. Romelia decided to take advantage of the opportunity.
“I talked with my family and we discussed if we should be part of the loan system. …,” Romelia said. “We agreed that we should do it and that we could begin raising hens. This is how I was able to get started with my egg business.”
It was a fortunate decision. Romelia initially purchased 10 hens and, within a week, they started producing eggs. It wasn’t long before the profits from selling the eggs allowed her to buy more hens.
“Then I was also able to earn and save enough to start a second [livelihood venture] making sweaters. And now this is a significant source of income for our family.”
As in so many communities, the small-loan program offered by Romelia’s mothers group offers a way for families to get the most from their child’s sponsorship benefits. The fact that the loans are offered without interest is an additional benefit.
“We provide a three-month loan to each other [amounting to about $40 USD],” Romelia said. “This means that we agree to lend a portion of [our children’s] sponsorship benefits to another sponsored child so they may purchase things of greater value. … For example, if I get $40 in January I will not get the totality of [Erasto’s] sponsorship benefits again until April.”
Her egg and sweater income has now become the prime source of financial support for Romelia and her family. Both ventures keep her busy, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s happy to belong to the Unbound community.
“I think it was God who put Unbound in our lives. …,” Romelia said. “I am grateful to God and to our sponsors for helping us. Our benefits make a big difference in my family.
“Thanks to our sponsor for writing to us and for sending us photos. We are grateful for their love. God bless you, sponsors!”
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