Self-Initiated Success

Yolanda Vallejo lives on the outskirts of Trojes, a small town in Eastern Honduras close to the border with Nicaragua. To make a living and provide for herself and her three sons, she makes tortillas in the kitchen in the back of her home, and sells them to the people of Trojes. She makes approximately 300 tortillas a day, selling the smaller ones at 3 tortillas for 1 Lempira, and the larger ones at 2 tortillas per Lempira. Yolanda has been doing this for nine years.

For years Yolanda struggled to sell enough tortillas to make ends meet for her family. She never had any formal schooling, and the only education she received was self-initiated. She participated in INFOP (National Institute of Personal Formation), a government-funded program which provides adults who were unable to finish their schooling with practical skills. Yolanda was afraid to ask anyone for help for fear she would not be able to pay them back. But then one of her friends told her about FINCA and Yolanda decided to take a chance. In May of 2013 Yolanda received her first loan of 3,000 Lempira from FINCA.

Since then Yolanda has completed two loan cycles with FINCA and is currently in the middle of her third. The loans have enabled her to buy corn (with which she makes the tortillas) in greater bulk and increase her production. She has also been able to ensure that her three sons can go to school. Her oldest son is now in his last year of high school, and she is putting all her savings towards ensuring that he graduates. Once he leaves school, she hopes to open a savings account with FINCA.

About the future, Yolanda says she hopes to receive more loans from FINCA, although she maintains her standard of only asking for what she can pay back. She hopes to be able to raise the price of her tortillas, and to maybe open another business such as a clothing store. Just like her education, which was self-initiated, Yolanda hopes to continue to find success through her own hard work and independence.