Our first visit of this year’s study tour took us to Eduardo, a mechanic living on the edge of the city of Guayaquil in the south of Ecuador. It is warm and a whiff of MOT lies in the air as Eduardo extends his oil-covered hand with a laugh.
Eduardo is 53 years old and lives with his son Carlos (21) and his daughter Cindy (12) in a small house next to his own automobile repair shop. He has been putting cars back together since he was 19 years old. From a small dent to a heap of scrap, Eduardo ensures every car that has been in an accident is returned to roadworthiness. He is a master of his craft, and has already passed the knowledge of his trade to his son Carlos. He also provided 15 young apprentices with an opening to become self-employed.
Eduardo has diabetes, a condition that almost cost him his legs a few years ago.
Thanks to the Banco D-Miro bank, an Oikocredit partner since 2008, he was spared. He used the first credit he received from the micro-finance organization to purchase the machinery needed to expand his garage.
Just before he was about to lose his legs, his brother in Spain helped to pay for the expensive operation and Banco D-Miro was more than happy to grant a deferral of his repayments. D-Miro was not only there for him metaphorically: when Eduardo was unable to walk, his credit adviser (Grace) paid him a personal visit at his home.
With help from his brothers and the bank, which specializes particularly in supporting people with health issues, both Eduardo and his garage got back on their feet again. When thinking about the future, the proud father wants nothing but the best for his children. His daughter is about to enter 6th grade, and regarding his son, he said: “my son already knows everything I know.”
Written by: Ursula Koch
Ursula Koch became aware of Oikocredit’s work while writing her Bachelor’s thesis on micro-financing. After completing her degree, she was able to do an internship in the Oikocredit offices in the Philippines. Since 2015, she has been involved on a volunteer basis with the Oikocredit support society Nordost in Berlin. In her professional life, she has been working as a customer adviser for GLS Bank since 2013.
Study Tour 2016 blogs were originally posted to the Oikocredit Germany website.