Entrepreneurs Christo Vive Trust Group
The Christo Vive (Christ is Alive) Trust Group, in the community of Albornoz, in Bolívar, Colombia, is a shining example of our model for success.
Trust Groups include 10-30 entrepreneurs who elect leaders and pledge to guarantee each other’s loans, allowing those who were previously denied formal financial services to earn credit without collateral.
Opportunity International clients usually their first loan through a Trust Group. They meet weekly to make loan payments and share information about saving, budgeting and other topics vital to building their small businesses. If one member faces loan default, the group unites to cover the payment and renew their credit.
Christo Vive’s 15 members operate a wide variety of ventures. Herlinda, Christo Vive’s president, sells fruits and vegetables. Elizabeth, its treasurer, makes hair accessories, sells coconuts and rents washing machines. Edna Georgina sells ice cream, Juan Carlo sells cell phone minutes, and other members support their families by selling candies, lunches and produce.
Though most of the members didn’t know each other before joining Christo Vive, they have since developed strong bonds. In addition to its financial solidarity, the group educates members on issues affecting overall quality of life, including health care, nutrition, hygiene and effective communication skills.
With 49 percent of Colombia’s population living below the poverty line and only 46 percent in the formal labor force, Christo Vive’s members are strengthened by the ongoing support of the new friends and fellow entrepreneurs they’ve met through Opportunity Colombia.