Creativity and discipline: a formula for success
“Since joining Esperanza [HOPE’s partner in Haiti], we have seen lots of progress, and we want to continue to grow,” Marie Ledina Larose explains. Marie and her husband of 22 years have five children, and providing for such a large family in rural Trou-du-Nord, Haiti—the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere—hasn’t been easy. The family’s main source of income comes from their shop, Lavira Botanic, where they sell agricultural products like fertilizers. Like many successful entrepreneurs, Marie credits creativity and discipline as the keys to their success. Natural innovators, Marie and her husband looked to provide their neighbors with a product in high demand. Knowing that many in their community grow vegetables and other crops, they developed their own homemade fertilizer that they sell in used drink bottles. After seeing an improvement in crop yields, many farmers insist on having Lavira Botanic’s fertilizer in regular supply. The product has become so popular that they ship it throughout northeast Haiti to other retailers. Marie has also demonstrated incredible discipline in her business and the way she manages money. She says, “If you don’t have discipline, Esperanza won’t be able to help you grow. But if you have discipline, Esperanza can be your best friend.” Since her first loan of $125 in 2009, she has faithfully invested in the growth of Lavira Botanic—paying for trips to wholesalers and purchasing inventory. Her loans enabled her to travel frequently to Port-au-Prince, the capital city, to buy a larger amount of stock. And it paid off. Hard work and loan capital have helped Lavira Botanic grow slowly and steadily, to the point where Marie and her husband hired an additional employee. Within three years, their ability to take on capital grew by a factor of five. They can now afford to travel to many different wholesalers to buy hard-to-find products that her customers need. Marie and her husband have also become landowners. They invested business profits in real estate, buying an apartment in Trou-du-Nord to rent out as an additional source of income. Today, Marie and her husband have complete financial stability and are no longer dependent on extended family during rough times. Their stable financial position allowed them to take in Marie’s youngest cousin, and Marie can now send all five of her children to private school in a nearby city, where the quality of education is higher. She has also put aside savings from her business to buy a cow and several goats, a basic form of insurance against disaster and emergencies. Marie’s experience with Esperanza has also impacted her socially and spiritually. She credits Esperanza with teaching her to live in solidarity with others, explaining that she noted a change in the spiritual atmosphere of her neighborhood. Marie has learned how to better study her Bible thanks to the regular times of Bible study in bank meetings, and she serves in her local church by worshipping as a member of the choir. Because of the example of her loan officer, who opens and closes every meeting with prayer, Marie says she has learned the importance of prayer in her daily life. As she explains, she now sees “prayer as key to our lives.”
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