Coffee couple now supplying Starbucks

Connect people with savings groups so they can succeed in business

Support economic development

With the support of a local savings group, Gennri and Marisol have become coffee entrepreneurs and they are seeing huge returns.

As in many countries around the world, poverty is forcing many people in the Central American nation of Honduras to make tough choices. These include leaving their country to look for a secure job that will pay enough for them to take care of their family.

But home for Gennri, 39, and his wife Marisol, 42, will always be a coffee-growing area in rural Honduras. They wouldn’t have it any other way.

Like many of their peers, Gennri and Marisol reached adulthood with just primary school education. Until two years ago, children in Honduras were only required to complete grade six.

From this meagre base, Gennri and Marisol began working the land and then started a family, which now includes three sons and a daughter, three of whom are sponsored through World Vision.

When World Vision began promoting savings groups in their community of San Marcos back in 2004, Gennri was interested. 

Savings groups help families in poor communities improve their incomes. Small groups of community members meet regularly to learn about business and contribute small amounts of money to a joint savings fund which they can access in the form of low-interest loans.

Banks in Honduras may charge up to 36 percent in interest, but a savings group charges far less.

By 2007, Gennri’s group of 21 had accumulated enough savings to buy a coffee processing machine from Brazil, at a cost of around $33,000. The massive machine sorts coffee beans, washes, and then dries them so they were able to sell their product to more buyers for a much higher price.

The savings group, which began with nothing, is now a cooperative that has amassed savings and capital worth more than $360,000.

Savings groups around the world:

73

countries

across Africa, Asia and Latin America use savings groups to spark local economic development

11

million

people actively participate in savings groups around the world

161,000

people

across 20 countries take part in World Vision-supported savings groups, amassing $4.5 million in total funds saved

Partners in life and business

Today, Gennri and Marisol are business partners, and with support from World Vision, Marisol completed a degree in business administration at a local university.

“I know her and I trust her,” says Gennri. “We are alike and we like the same things. We love the same risk. We love the same chances.”

They employ a dozen people and provide 125 local farmers with a place to bring their coffee beans to sell. They run a youth group with 20 members, teaching them business skills and serving as community role models.

Their coffee warehouse is piled high with bags of beans, ready to be shipped to local markets and internationally to companies such as Starbucks.

All of the couple’s children are now in university, except for the youngest who is finishing grade 10.

From the humblest of beginnings, Gennri and Marisol grabbed the opportunities they discovered in their savings group with both hands. And in the process, they have created a bright future for their own children and many others in their community. 

By joining a savings group Gennri and Marisol have been able to develop a profitable coffee business, with local and international clients. Photos: Laura Reinhardt/World Vision