Lynne Patterson, co-founder of Pro Mujer is setting a new standard on how small loans combined with basic entrepreneurial training and health education can help. Pro Mujer is assisting struggling women in Latin America to secure a decent living for themselves. Catering to almost a quarter of a million women, Pro Mujer is one of the most promising microfinance organizations in the region.
Pro Mujer is a microfinance institution catering to women in Nicaragua, Peru, Mexico, Bolivia and Argentina. The main goal of the company is to help struggling women to stand on their own two feet. Women are given a source of income through small loans. Based on its records, Pro Mujer is now at the $1 billion mark in terms of the small loans it has handed over.
However, the duty of Pro Mujer does not end with lending money. The company also provides training in handling businesses, as well as health care services and proper education. In a statement given by Bob Annibale, he said that the difference between Pro Mujer and other microfinance organizations is its deep commitment to healthcare. He reiterated that health care is an essential component in maintaining a family’s livelihood.
Full of enthusiasm
Whenever she is asked to state the mission and goals of Pro Mujer, co-founder Lynne Patterson does so with eagerness. Each sentence delivered by Patterson is stressed by a slap on the table, considered by those who know her as her means of making a point. Ms. Patterson is rather very fond of citing inspirational quotes from Amartya Sen and Mary Wollstonecraft whenever the subject of women’s equality arises. “We believe you can do it,” said by Ms. Patterson in many of her speeches as she continues to convince women that the key to their own future is their own selves.
The past and the present
Many women in Latin America face the same problem. With poverty holding them down and with no available means to make a good living, they end up feeling hopeless. Since Pro Mujer was established, the status of many women in Latin America has dramatically changed.
Maria Alejandra Rodriguez is one of the many women in Nicaragua that benefited from the microfinance organization, Pro Mujer. Before, she was a struggling street vendor and faced each day with hardships. As a mother of three children, she would have a difficult time feeding the whole family since vending on the streets is not a stable source of income. With all the uncertainties and struggle she faced, she could not believe that she was able to somehow make it through.
Mrs. Rodriguez’s fortune started to turn in 2006 when she was given a $100 loan from Pro Mujer, a microfinance organization spearheaded by Lynne Patterson. She used the money to start a simple hardware business. As a Pro Mujer stakeholder, she also joined the communal banks that the organization holds.
The opportunities that Pro Mujer gave Mrs. Rodriguez allowed her to be part of a community designed to extend support to women through small loans that would help them build their future. Members also shared their professional and personal problems and moral support is always given.
Photo Credit: Facebook page of Pro Mujer