By Ann Marie Jackson
This month a lucky Mano Amiga donor will win a two-night stay at elegant Casa Proserpina, along with day passes to the beautiful beach at Valle de los Senderos. Mano Amiga is a wonderful organization that changes lives in San Miguel de Allende by providing interest-free microloans, business training, and mentoring to local women who lack access to affordable credit, enabling them to build successful small businesses.
Mano Amiga was founded in 2018 by Mexican, American, Cuban, and Swedish women who came together to help women empower themselves, financially and personally, through microlending. With backgrounds in business and international development and experience working with local nonprofit organizations, these women identified a need and created an organization to meet that need.
Mano Amiga’s microloans typically range from 5,000-15,000 pesos (USD$250-USD$750). Mano Amiga selects applicants with the drive to succeed, thereby improving their families’ prospects and strengthening communities. When a woman receives a Mano Amiga loan, she enters a sisterhood of small businesswomen, and the powerful message she hears is “we believe in you.” And the best part is that after each recipient pays back her loan, that money is then loaned to another woman, and so on, benefitting many future recipients as well. One donation can change the lives of many women and their families.
Mano Amiga promotes traditional cultural products and values environmental sustainability. For example, Laura received a loan to expand her mole business. The recipes for these delicious sauces have been in her family for generations. Patricia, Carolina, and others create exquisite handicrafts such as handmade jewelry and embroidered linens, while Imelda crafts traditional piñatas. Mano Amiga also supports women making progress in non-traditional ways: Diana’s business is the only female-owned muffler shop in San Miguel.
In conjunction with International Women’s Day, Mano Amiga has set a fundraising goal for March of 100,000 pesos (USD$5,000), to fund 10 new micro-loans. Thanks to the generosity of Casa Proserpina owner Hadley O’Regan, everyone who donates this month will have their name put in a hat, and when the goal is reached, a donor’s name will be drawn from the hat to win the fabulous prize. Donations of 2,000 pesos (USD$100) are encouraged, but of course any amount is greatly appreciated. Don’t miss this opportunity: donate online at manoamigasma.org before the end of March to be eligible. Some restrictions apply.
To learn more, follow Mano Amiga on Facebook @manoamigasanmiguel and Instagram @manoamigasma. Follow Casa Proserpina and Valle de los Senderos on Instagram @casaproserpina and @valledelossenderos_sma.