Solène Louis 5

Solène has been worried about repaying the money she borrowed from her savings and loan association to complete her home. We wouldn’t normally encourage someone to use borrowed money to make an investment that won’t earn profit that she can use for reimbursements, but Solène felt that she had no choice. The home she was in had deteriorated so badly that she felt she had to do something quickly. Even so, she also borrowed a little bit more than she needed and bought a very young female goat, one that had just been weaned.

And she’s starting to feel good about her decision. She managed to make her first reimbursement by saving some of the money that her husband earns as a day laborer and by selling some chickens and some plantains.

Selling the chickens is risky because they act as insurance. Normally she would keep them for when she needs a few hundred gourds to do something important, like taking a sick child to a clinic. And selling the plantains hurts as well because since she doesn’t yet have a reliable cash income, having plantains growing in their garden is their best hedge against hunger. But she felt she had no choice. “I had to repay the debt somehow.”

Now she plans to take out a new loan in August, when she’s finished repaying her first one. She’ll use that money to start a small commerce.

She’s very happy to be part of the CLM program, and she makes a particular point of the importance of her case manager. “He knows how I’m doing and what I’m doing, so he can give me advice. Advice is useful. There’s advice that’s worth more than money. My case manager encouraged me to save up money from my cash stipend, and that’s what enabled me to finish my house.”