El Abanico: Turning Pedals and Soil
Continuing along our journey in northern Costa Rica, meet Alicia and Ricardo. They live in the community of El Abanico, located very close to the Arenal Volcano. Alicia ad Ricardo are both farmers, but they also manage the bike project for their Empresa de Credito (EC) ECs are autonomous credit companies, which aim to enhance the development of communities and individuals. The focus of each of the ECs is to support the development of entrepreneurs in their communities through loans.
The bike project helps build capital for the microcredit program offered throughout the year. Alicia and Ricardo received 50 bicycles from our first 2023 container to northern Costa Rica, which also benefited the La Trinchera de Pital EC. Through the sale of the bikes, they were able to help other farmers increase their crops, build small businesses, and have a greater impact on their community through the EC.
El Abanico is a community that was formed by farmers who are dedicated to different crops that grow in the area such as cassava, tiquishque, beans, and chili. Abanico EC provides loans mostly for agricultural related activities but they also finance small businesses and commerce. Because the community is located near the volcano, some members have started projects aimed at tourists, which the EC has helped establish.
Alicia is an administrator with the EC, but she is also a member who has benefited from the loans offered through the EC to support her small businesses. Last year she and her husband built a cabin that they rent to tourists who want to come visit the town and their farm.