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Microloans, pastries & her children's education
February 26, 2013
Gertrude Bernardin is a courageous young woman living in Cap Haitien, in northern Haiti. Growing up in a working class family, her mother sold produce on the market and her father was in the military.
She is a mom to two teenage boys, both of whom are now in secondary school. She went to secondary school but did not graduate. It was then that she decided to become a pastry chef, because she really loves to cook.
Several months ago, some neighbors invited her to take part in a FINCA ‘village bank.’ She accepted their offer and received her first loan soon after.  She has managed that loan successfully, and now is on her fourth loan from FINCA, for 10,000 gourdes or $238. She feels great with the other members of her lending group, and is really proud to be a member of FINCA. She feels she is learning a lot from her loan officer and thinks it is good for her both financially and socially, to belong to this village bank.
Gertrude regularly purchases flour, sugar, milk and eggs to make pastries that she sells on the streets and in public markets. She also sells to private supermarkets who request her pastries every day. Her business has recently begun to gain more notoriety, and occasionally she receives special requests from clients to cater events or weddings.
Gertrude is a single mother and the sole provider for her small household of herself and her two sons (14 and 17 years old). The elder son is completing his senior year this year, and hopes to study to be a doctor. Gertrude hopes with all of her heart that she will be able to pay for his education. The younger son wants to be an engineer. Thanks to FINCA’s loans, she hopes her business will continue to grow so she can realize her dreams for her sons.
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