Micro-credit for the less fortunate in Argentina

The Air Liquide Foundation provides support for Caring Loans, a micro-entrepreneurship program initiated in the town of San Cayetano, in the large suburb of Buenos Aires. The idea behind the program is to help the most underprivileged residents launching their own business by providing access to micro-credit and training.  

Boosting employment through entrepreneurship

After years of socio-economic and monetary crises, Argentina is now faced with structural poverty and employment problems. Asociacion Civil de Puertas Abiertas was created in 2004 to develop a systematic response to those problems. Its Caring Loans program assists in the creation of small businesses by providing financial support and professional training. “The situation in this region is urgent. Micro-credit requires a long-term vision. The projects carried in the field are futile if the proper groundwork is not laid in advance,” explained Lucila Cervino, who is part of the Association’s team. “Developing an employment initiative allows hope for the future and enables us to present a different vision of the country to future generations.” 

Offering economic independence to the most underprivileged

The association created self-help groups made up of San Cayetano residents. These groups meet regularly to select and support projects, to grant loans and raise money. The association supports individuals and organizations whose projects are news or freshly launched and which focus on Buenos Aires and its suburbs. Over 150 projects—some of which are quite small—have received support (small restaurants, clothing makers, craftsmen, etc.). Whatever the sector the main thing is that the beneficiaries develop and carry out their project themselves, without relying on the authorities. Usually these are people who are completely out of the system, without even a minimum wage and with no access to formal financial system. Offering them access to micro-finance means they have an alternative to the violence and pressure they face from extra-official lenders and usurers” added Lucila Cervino.

A shared vision of economic development

Asociacion Civil de Puertas Abiertas survives through funding, contributions from its members, public and private donations and by organizing fundraising events. The Air Liquide Foundation’s grant will be used to finance some of the support provided for projects overseen by the association. “We offer support on a truly human level. We do fundamental work here. I think the Foundation chose our project because it was designed to make a lasting impact,” concluded Lucila Cervino.

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The Buenos Aires region suffered severe flooding in August, which caused major damage to property in the surrounding area. Most homes were hit by three or more feet of flooding. We had to stop our association’s daily activities in order to help the victims as much as possible. We brought drinking water and helped clean anything that could be salvaged. We are grateful to the many people who came to offer their support. Due to the scale of losses suffered by many of the entrepreneurs we assist, we have decided to cancel the repayment of micro-loans in order to allow the projects to make a fresh start.”

Lucila Cervino, member of the Association

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To find out more

DPA’s Website: www.dpa.org.ar

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Testimonials

Asociacion Civil de Puertas Abiertas is doing excellent work because they help people start their own business. In addition to granting micro-loans, they also discuss family and social problems with beneficiaries and help them find ways to improve and promote their business. They really provide comprehensive support.

Rosmary Godoy
Director of Communications and Public Affairs
Air Liquide Argentina