Tis’ The Season: Micro Loans in South America

Micro Loan - South America Travel Company

Season’s greetings from everyone here at Knowmad! With all of the good cheer floating around this holiday season –  like “Giving Tuesday” (a day following “Black Friday” dedicated to helping those less fortunate), “Small Business Saturday” (a day celebrating small, local businesses), or the “Patagonia Worn Wear Swap” (an initiative encouraging consumers to buy less and re-use already manufactured clothing) – has reminded us to take a step back and be grateful for what we have and most importantly be thankful for all of the important people in our lives.

Last year at this time we made three micro loans in South America through Kiva to Elmer, Agapito, and Estelfina. Each of them are small-business owners that needed a financial loan to help them move forward with their business and in-turn support their family. We are happy to report that all three of them have paid back their loans in full!

This year, inspired by the season and in an effort to continue our tradition we have again made three microloans in South America. Please meet Luis Jorge, Carolina Del Pilar, and Victor from Ecuador and Peru and read their stories below.

Micro-Loan South America Travel

Luis Jorge

Luis is a young Ecuadorian man who is 23 years old and was born in the city of Sigchos in Ecuador. He lives at home with his family in a rural area of the city where people breed cattle. Thanks to the efforts of his parents he was able to finish primary education. From a very young age, he had to work to help with the household expenses. Since Luis is a hardworking and self-motivated young man, he started his own business of raising young bulls a few years ago, which has allowed him to pay for some of his expenses.

He currently needs a loan to buy young bulls and female cows. Luis is looking to build a stable business that will let him move forward, develop himself personally and become independent. Despite the fact that Luis only finished primary education, he is looking to study so he has knowledge related to the business of raising cattle to improve himself.

Luis is grateful for Fundación Alternativa in Ecuador and for Kiva for making this growth in his work and personal life possible.

Micro - Loan South America Carolina


Carolina Del Pilar

Carolina is 35 years old and lives with her husband and their 3 teenage daughters who currently attend school. They live in the city of Santo Domingo, a region with warm and humid climate and a very commercial area since it’s the link between the coast and the mountains.

Both Carolina and her husband work to generate income for their home. Her husband works outside the city in a food business where he operates a forklift. He’s been employed there for a long time thanks to his good performance. During the week Carolina works as a cook in a store that makes salchipapas (french fries and hot dog patties) and during the weekends works at her own busines preparing delicious ceviches and tongas (a traditional dish from the region). Both do everything they can to move forward and give their daughters an education.

With the loan Carolina will buy a cart to prepare salchipapas and buy an oven to make brochettes. She wants to keep improving the business and in the future have a dining area for her clients; that’s her great dream. She’s grateful to Fundación Alternativa and Kiva who made this loan possible to buy the necessary equipment to help her grow the business.

Micro-Loan South America Travel Victor


Victor is a family man who works hard for this 3 children because he wants them to have a better future. For more than 30 years he has been farming in the city where he was born, Rupa Rupa. His main product is banana and for some years he has begun cacao (the bean that chocolate is made from). He is always striving to bring quality products to market, so he gets up very early to go to work on his farm and his wife brings him lunch because he works all day long.

Victor wants to improve the quality of his products so he would like to use a loan to buy organic manure to maintain his crops and perform maintenance on his land. He is thankful to the Kiva lenders for their generosity. He wants them to know that this will improve his performance and in this way he will be able to continue fighting to expand his crops in the future and help him become the major producer in the area.


Nos Vemos, Lisa

South America Travel - Lisa KellenbergerLisa is the Media Manager at Knowmad Adventures, a company dedicated to creating unique, private and custom trips in South America. She studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2012 and is continually planning her next adventure. Read Lisa’s biography and more about the Knowmad team