At the heart of the Andes are women who have made out of their survival a positive fight. Betty, Cecilia Manizales, Melanie, Eufenia, Elba. These are the names of personal goals, a daily effort to challenge a destination: poverty. Thanks to microcredit, their dream of progress is already a reality.


The Colca Valley is part of the department of Arequipa (Peru) and is located in the northeast corner of this region. One of the many problems of the area is isolation. Life unfolds in precarious conditions, in a difficult environment, some 4,000 meters above the sea level. People with lower-income develop their economic activities in rural areas in small communities or districts located in remote locations with limited access and communication. Paradoxically, it is one of the major tourist destinations of Peru and many people venture into the mountains in search of the condor.


In small population centers around the city of Chibai, women -as in much of Latin America- face some disadvantages. Most of them are active in rural areas, developing agricultural activities and commercial activities. Thanks to the implementation of various micro-credit programs, many of these women have been able to redirect their lives, and open doors for hope. Self-employment has emerged as the great lifeline for many families.

Many of these women have to carry the full weight of their children in the absence of their husbands.


Microcredit has been the starting point, the starting line. Thanks to the loans of small amounts of money, the Andean women have been empowered, they have become strong enough to be self-employed. They are often modest projects, a planting of corn or potatoes, or caring for livestock. Initiatives, however, can give meaning and food to one or more lives.


This story is part of Microcredit.


Text © Toni Limongi