Who We Serve

  • Guatemala is a beautiful country with a history that dates back 4,000 years to the Mayan civilization. The country has the highest GDP in Central America but this wealth is not evenly distributed. Over 50% of the general population and 75% of the country’s indigenous population live below the international poverty line. Chronic childhood malnutrition is widespread with nearly 70% of indigenous children and over 50% of all Guatemalan children being affected. Over 60% of Mayan females ages 15-64 cannot read or write.

  • The average woman receiving a microloan in Guatemala through the Sister Bonds® Investment Fund is 37 years old, attended three years of primary school, and has four children. Guatemalan women have strong ties to their Mayan culture and continue in their traditional commercial enterprises. Typically clients make and sell traditional blouses (huipiles), fabrics and handicrafts (tipica) or operate small stores, food vending or weaving businesses.

  • Elena is a 41 year-old single mother of eight children. She was never given the opportunity to attend school which is an unfortunate reality for many indigenous women in Guatemala. Elena has taken out her first loan to support her business of raising pigs. She hopes to lift herself and her family out of poverty and into a better life.

  • The Philippines is one of the world’s largest archipelago nations consisting of more than 7,000 islands. Approximately 28% of the country’s 98 million inhabitants live below the international poverty line. Natural resources abound but are unavailable to the poor due to insecure land rights and lack of access to technologies. Widespread social inequity impacts indigenous people and women the most. Nearly 60% of females have less than a high school education and nearly 40% of families experience hunger at least once a month.

  • Despite the daily challenges borrowers face, they are diligent about following procedures. The Unit Office is where member payments are collected and where loan disbursements are made. The payment collection usually starts at 11 a.m., followed by loan disbursements and finishes with savings withdrawals.

  • On average, a client receiving a micro loan in the Philippines through the Sister Bonds® Investment Fund is forty-four years old, attended ten years of public school, and has three children. Most clients use their loans for commercial activities, from shoe repair to operating sari-sari (‘variety’) stores. Other clients are using the loan funds from Capital Sisters for various agricultural activities, including raising pigs and fish farming.

Women: Impoverished, Marginalized, And Invisible.

We serve very poor women in developing countries who need tiny business loans to generate income for their families. We do that by connecting them with investors willing to provide the capital.

We target women because females represent 70% of the world’s poorest people – those living on less than $2/day. Females are disproportionately poor because of centuries of systemic exclusions and biases that are triggered simply by virtue of being born a female. They suffer from a lack of education, an inability to own or inherit property, exclusion from financial services and job markets, and an absence of social status that makes them powerless in the face of discrimination.

The vast majority of poor women work in an unregulated, unprotected “underground” economy called the “informal sector” in order to provide needed income to their households. Almost all of their income is spent on food and shelter, leaving little to finance their enterprises. Without collateral, they cannot access traditional financial services so they borrow from predatory moneylenders who charge as much as 10% to 20% interest a day. Collateral is a difficult requirement for a population largely denied property rights. They own few “productive assets” such as sewing machines, bicycles, tractors or phones. They often lack access to basic infrastructure like electricity, water, and sanitation, and are plagued by poor health in the absence of affordable medical care. They have multiple occupations and miss out on the gains from specialization and economies of scale. They face income insecurity every day. Our goal is to level the playing field for these women and this drives everything we do as an organization.

Studies show that women borrowers are credit worthy, focus on health, invest in the future, and find their voice. Learn more about how we are promoting economic empowerment for women through our Investment and our Advocacy programs.