Pascual had an idea to make a living and escape poverty—he just needed a small start-up loan to get his business started. But because he was so poor, no bank or lending institution would consider lending him money.
That is when the Bolivian Evangelical Lutheran Church stepped in to help. The church’s microloan initiative, supported by your gifts to ELCA World Hunger, provides 400 small loans to men and women in Bolivia whose incomes are too low to qualify for a traditional bank loan.
Pascual received his first loan of $150 in 2005. He purchased materials to make bowler hats, a popular item among women living in the Bolivian highlands society. Introduced by the Europeans in the 1920s, today these hats sell for more than $20 in local markets. He was able to sell enough hats to repay his loan quickly.
Five years later, Pascual’s business is still going strong. He continues to use a portion of the proceeds to reinvest in more materials and make more hats. With a stable source of income, Pascual has escaped poverty for good.