True Stories from the Field: Education Paving the Way to Brighter Futures

Meeting with Banco Fie Credit Oficiales

After a month in La Paz I’ve realized that our loan product, “Credito Superacion” is and will continue to be very beneficial to many young people. There is definitely a need here for micro credit in general and many students are successfully working with Vittana to complete their higher education. From a high level this is great news, but it’s the individual stories that mean the most, the stories that demonstrate the true impact that micro-loans can have on students, families and communities. So here are some of the faces and names and more importantly the success stories behind Vittana’s micro credit for education. Prepare to be inspired!

It’s easy to see what a difference a small loan can make in a student’s hopes for the future. In addition to tuition,

Karem is studying Tourism and Hotel Management

students must pay separate fees for basic educational materials  to graduate and even to complete their thesis.  Even after putting in all the required time and effort to pass exams and complete coursework, these costs commonly prevent students from obtaining their degree. For  Karem and Jael, financial factors like these made getting an education a struggle prior to receiving Vittana loans.   For Raul and Inti  the cost of materials were a barrier. Other students such as Javier and Sheyla, faced the prospect of working and studying at the same time to make educational opportunities viable.  Clearly it’s not maturity, intention, desire or ability as one might assume with young people, but simply costs that keep them from attaining higher education credentials. I’m glad to be working with Vittana towards eliminating these simple barriers and allowing these student to reach their goals!

More stories of student success came from my interview with Credit Officials who are working directly with the students and preparing the credit. Throughout my visits I have heard how the credit is supporting their clients through their education but recently I sat down with a few officials as they share their opinions on why higher education is so important in Bolivia. They also shared specific, inspiring accounts of accomplishment from their clients. The positive changes made possible through small amounts of credit are clear!

Marcelo Tames, Bancofie Credit Official

“In our country many people lack the resources yet they have a great desire to improve their lives. Sometimes the students are very frustrated because they want to get an education and but have chosen a degree that may be expensive and they don’t have the money to pay for their payments, materials and everything they need for their course of study. So I believe that the credit can be the answer and help them realize their dreams.” -Marcelo Tames, Credit Official

“I had a client that need the credit to finish his studies in a school of hotel management. Once he got the credit and was able to get his degree he was very happy for two reasons: he started working in a hotel to gain experience. After that he was going to open his own restaurant. In this case the credit was his motivating factor to finish his studies and eventually have his own business. So this was very motivating for this young man.” -Juan Marco Fernandez, Credit Official

Paola Sanchez, Bancofie Credit Official

“In the case of my client, for example, who is a seamstress, her daughter used the credit to pay for her last year, her fifth year of medical school. In this case, this is a change for the whole family because she is the first professional in her family. And they were very proud her parents and her siblings…They dream that one day she will work in a hospital in El Alto and she will have a good job there. -Paola Sanchez, Credit Official

“The current market is very competitive so it is very important for the young people here to obtain an academic degree.It is very difficult to pay for universities but Vittana is a great support for this and makes it much more accessible to continue their studies and complete their degree.” – Enrique Condori, Credit Official

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About The Author:

Melissa is from New York City and served as a Vittana Fellow during winter 2012 in Bolivia.

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