The last visit to a project partner in Uruguay brought me to Cerro del Toro (Bull’s Hill) where Cooperativa Artigas has a recreational complex called “La Colonia” (the Colony). This 2 hectare complex has rooms, small cottages, a pool, and basketball court. Why should a microfinance institution have such a place? The answer is simple: to promote better life quality for their borrowers. Cooperativa Artigas mission does not limit to providing loans, but improving life standards of their borrowers and their families: people with low-income and people with disabilities.
This MFI has a special focus on integrating people with disabilities into society, opening credit lines for two Uruguayan institutions addressing this target group. This is very unique because in Uruguay, as in many developing countries in the world, there is a lack of facilities and programs for these people. In some countries, it goes to the extreme that they are discriminated by society and even by their families.
Like Oikocredit, Cooperativa Artigas invests in people. No wonder the relation between both organizations already dates from 2001, five years before Cooperativa Artigas officially became Oikocredit’s project partner. Credit goes beyond providing a loan, but believing in people and empowering them to continue believing in themselves and in their dreams. Only then does credit bring development and a better quality of life.