Posted by Mary Coward
Linci Cipriani is one of the clients supported by our District Community Grant.
Linci started a small business selling cupcakes on the plaza of her village. She enrolled in the Namaste Guatemaya program, to receive business training and a microloan. She used the micro-loan to purchase a small oven, which has helped her to expand her volume and increase customers.
Photo Caption: Linci Cipriana w/Fundación Namaste Guatemaya Member
The Project – Business Development for Guatemalan Women
In April 2018 four District Rotarians travelled to Antigua, Guatemala to meet business women supported by a $9000 District Community Grant from 2017/18. District 5020 clubs supporting this District Grant were Victoria Harbourside RC, Passport RC of Pierce County and Bainbridge Island RC.
This project provided business training to 22 women entrepreneurs near Antigua, Guatemala. The women who took this training live in rural communities near the city of Antigua. Each woman received 10 hours of training, and met monthly with a Business Advisor to develop her business.  In addition, each woman received a microcredit loan and was invited to the Business Women’s Conference in April at Lake Atitlan.
The training and business support was provided by Fundación Namaste Guatemaya (FNG). FNG has worked in the communities around Antigua since the 1980s, providing business training and microcredit.
The women we met said this training was very helpful to them. In particular the monthly support from the Business Advisor helps them to stay on track and deal with problems as they come up. They face many challenges in operating their small businesses such as: managing cash flow; finding money for supplies and inventory; keeping business money separate from family money; responding to family needs and emergencies; dealing with loan sharks and extortion. 
Some of the business women participating in the training. Their businesses include prepared food, clothing, textiles and crafts, small convenience stores, and services.
Debbie Ranniger, Pierce County Passport Club, gave opening address at the Business Women’s Conference, in Spanish, with a K’iche interpreter.  After Debbie’s address, a client came forward and gave a passionate statement about what the program meant to her.
District Rotarians in Antigua (left to right); Jenny Hildebrand, Oak Bay RC; Mary Coward (Victoria Harbourside RC), Debbie Ranniger and Neel Parikh (Passport RC of Pierce County)