Maria Cecilia family sari-sari store owner expands capacity through microloans

Maria Cecilia Bacale Reyes

Cecilia is from Pagsanjan in the province of Laguna, south of Metro Manila. This is where she met her husband, who now drives a taxi cab for a living. They have two children, both of whom are already working but are still living with them. She supports her family financially through her sari-sari (retail) store, which she has been operating for the last 25 years.

When she got married, Cecilia wanted to be at home to take care of the household and children. This is why setting up a home-based microbusiness worked well for her. To increase her business’ capacity and generate more income, she had the idea to add short-order snacks to her business. This is when she met an Account Officer from Grameen Pilipinas and, after taking through the benefits, Cecilia decided to become a member. She started with a microloan of PHP 7,000 PHP (AU$182) which was quickly followed by a PHP 10,000 (AU$261) loan once she had fully repaid the first. The additional funds helped her add electronic loading (mobile loads etc) to the array of products in her store.

When the pandemic struck, Cecilia was immensely grateful to have remained an active member of GPMI:

“When most microfinance organisations were keen on preserving funds and resources, GPMI launched a food support program for their members to help their families deal with the impact of COVID-19”

Maria Cecilia Bacale Reyes

After six loan cycles, and as most micro-enterprises focus efforts on rejuvenating business activities, Cecilia imagines herself continuing her membership with GPMI. Even though both her children have secure jobs, their income remains insufficient to sustain a small family. Cecilia is able to set aside some money through her savings with GPMI and has her family secured through the insurance products that GPMI offers. Someday, when her children have achieved financial independence, Cecilia hopes that she and her husband can finally focus on investing in a house they can call their own.

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