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.