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A strong-willed woman and her storefront: Elpidia's story

As a fearless leader and caretaker, Elpidia Esther started a small business out of her home in order to fulfill the needs of her family and new neighborhood. Elpidia is the first of many inhabitants of a neighborhood in the municipality of Soledad, Colombia. With that being said, her store did not pop up overnight. In fact, she credits her leap of faith to her sister and her niece. They often serve as her biggest motivators and cheerleaders. They pushed her to open up her convenience store in Soledad and to apply for a loan on Kiva.

Empowered and backed by the Kiva community, Elpidia was able to expand her business with more merchandise. Her loan of $650 helped her purchase items like hangers, hair ribbons, gift bags, and piñata fillers. She was able to see her store flourish as her business boomed. Eventually, she even added the sale of cakes and desserts by order to her store’s offerings.

Success often does not come easily as it is filled with challenges and unseen obstacles. Unfortunately, people heard through the grapevine just how well Elpidia’s business was doing and she was extorted by an organized crime group in the area.

She said that the monthly fee that they demanded was too high, as a majority of her earnings would have gone to the gang. So a tough decision had to be made: her safety or her shop. Elpidia knew it was too much and refused to pay. For her safety, she closed down her shop and began operating from a different house.

Although times were tough, Elpidia continued paying off her loan from Kiva. Once again, her family provided a guiding light and an extra push. After two months, Elpidia’s niece urged that it was time to open the store again.

“I’m thankful for my family and for the loan from Kiva because it also motivated me to keep my business afloat."



Now, Elpidia is on the road to getting her business back up and running. She says that she’s standing strong next to her sister and her niece, defending their work.

As Elpidia always says, “Pa’ lante,” which in Spanish means, “keep going”.

About the author

Rachel Phandinh