This summer, three UNC Chapel Hill students are investing several weeks to help lead our Micro-enterprise Program alongside, Nestor, the local leader and loan officer. They have been working to expand the program to include a savings component that is also being offered to the teachers at the schools in La Limonada.
We’re grateful for the investment being made by Santi Beltran (who has returned to La Limonada for a second consecutive summer), Caleb Dagenhart and Chris Flesher as they continue to do great work with FAC Internacional in partnership with Lemonade International.
Here’s the latest update from Caleb:
I thought it was going well, but they weren’t all convinced. Some of them had doubts, and understandably so. Who would be in charge of the accounts? How readily accessible would their money be? How often would they deposit, and to whom? How long would the sessions be?
Ten days ago we had our first interest meeting with our first clients who are solely dedicated to the nascent savings program. These clients are teachers at the Limón school funded and operated by Lemonade International, women whose desire for savings and financial empowerment is palpable. As we went through our PowerPoint presentation, many of them had questions, but, in the end, nine of twelve teachers signed up to save their way toward a better future.
This past week, we formalized all the applications, and our clients’ fervor was so great that, unbeknownst to us, they made their first deposits. Our theory has finally become a young, fragile, budding reality, and with this the chain between Lemonade International and FAC Internacional gains another link. This program is a milestone for both organizations as together we seek a more holistic reach within the Limonada community.
Although the program is in its first phase and is still malleable, here are a few of its current features:
1. Participants save toward a specific, tangible savings goal.
2. Participants make deposits and attend educational sessions every fifteen days.
3. There is a 48-hour waiting period for withdrawals from the account.
4. When participants reach their savings goals, FAC Internacional will match their savings with a 20% bonus.
5. The maximum bonus FAC Internacional will disburse per saver is Q1000 ($131).
6. Participants must be involved with the program for at least 3 months to receive the matched bonus.
The first educational session will be held next week, and we look forward to all the future holds. As this program expands, we hope to offer this program to the teachers at the Mandarina school and to residents of La Limonada.