Poway Rotary Club leading Honduras microloan effort
The Rotary Club of Poway is partnering with a dozen other Rotary Clubs in the United States and Honduras to fund $47,250 in microloans and business training for extremely poor women in Honduras.
The Poway club led the microloan effort which attracted donations from other Rotary Clubs in California, Illinois, Washington and Honduras. The San Diego and Cupertino Rotary Districts matched their clubs’ donations, and The Rotary Foundation in Chicago just announced that it will add $20,250 toward the effort. Of the total, $6,500 is for business training and $40,750 to fund business startup loans as small as $50.
Over 600 indigenous Lenca women, living in the impoverished remote highlands of Honduras, will be able to start businesses and begin to work their way out of poverty due to this funding. Typically, the Lenca women have better than a 96 percent loan repayment rate.
Honduras is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and in the Lenca region, illiteracy and childhood malnutrition rates are twice the national average. With these modest loans, the women can start a chicken or goat business, open a small grocery store in their homes, or sell produce and handmade goods at weekly markets. Profits are used to buy adequate food for their families, send their children to school and improve their homes.
“The beauty of this project is that it’s not a handout,” said Poway Rotary Club President Alan Noblitt. “The women repay their loans over six months and then can apply for a second loan, or that repaid money will be reissued to another woman. In this way, our funding will continue to start businesses long after the grant has ended.”
The San Diego Rotary Clubs contributing to this effort are Rancho Bernardo, San Diego, Encinitas, La Jolla (Sunrise) and Escondido. In addition, the District-wide Mobilizing Rotary for Microcredit Committee was instrumental in building support for this project, which will begin this week.
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