The Trickle Up Solution
Blog & Media
Meet Our Participants
Ruth Esther González Martínez
Date of Enrollment
I have seen the results.
Ruth Esther González Martinez lives in the village of Boaco, about an hour outside of the city of Leon, Nicaragua. She is 34 years-old and lives with her husband and two children in a house owned by her mother-in-law. Before joining the Trickle Up program, Ruth suffered a stroke, which left her paralyzed in the face, as well as with degenerative arthritis. Though she was not healthy enough to work, she had to support her family. Her only option was to clean and iron clothes as a housekeeper, even though her doctors forbade her from doing so. But, her family’s needs obliged her to go from door-to-door in search of work. Then, grief struck her family when her eldest son fell gravely ill and died at the age of 14. In tears, she explained that he lost his life due to unfortunate and preventable circumstances. Ruth was miserable because of her son’s death as well as her disabilities.
Ten months ago, Ruth received a Spark Grant from Trickle Up, through its local partner organization, SOLIDEZ. One afternoon a representative from the “The Municipal Organization for the Disabled” visited her to asses her situation and familiarize her with the Trickle Up SOLIDEZ program. She was very enthusiastic and quickly shared with her husband what she had learned. A couple of weeks later, she was invited to a meeting where she met other women who, like her, had been invited to learn more about how the Trickle Up-SOLIDEZ program invested in people who are very poor but are eager to work and start a productive livelihood. After attending a series of training sessions, she received a Spark Grant of $100. With this capital, she invested in a microbusiness selling firewood, and also bought two pigs and ten chickens. “I felt very happy, I had something to work for and this was my opportunity to get out of the situation I was in.”
From these activities she began to earn a significant profit. “I now use my earnings to purchase the medicine I need. I no longer buy eggs; I farm them, consume them, and even sell them to make more money. I have also been able to pay for electricity. I no longer have to work away from home so I can be with my children all the time.”
She explained that before Trickle Up she had no savings whatsoever, but now she saves regularly, either at home, or through her community savings group “La Vaquita,” which means “The Little Cow” and includes other Trickle Up participants. Her savings group has also helped her become closer to others in her community, “It has helped me feel worthy because I know that I am a valued member of my savings group, my family, and the larger community. Before, I didn’t want to speak to anyone because I felt that others would just ridicule me and my situation.”
Today, Ruth knows that her situation has improved greatly: "Today I feel happy because not only did I receive $100, I received an opportunity to better the lives of my children and my family. I have seen the results. We eat better than before, and we have plumbing throughout the house. Now I know I can accomplish things on my own and feel confident that with the support I receive, I can persevere. My new business increases my possibilities of getting out of poverty. I am no longer alone because I have the support of my savings group. I feel stronger than ever in my relationship with my husband. We go out together, and he can see the change."
Ruth has plans to study nursing and to expand her business into a larger general store. She wants her children to have a better life than she did, and with the help of Trickle Up-SOLIDEZ, she believes her goals are now attainable.