Salta’s Best Sandwich Maker

Posted by Kyra Gibson on May 13th 2009 in NEED Magazine, Organizations Edit

Fabiana Torres. photo | Shea Roggio

I took a plane to Argentina to gather a story for an upcoming issue of NEED. After arriving in Buenos Aires, I took a 20 hour bus ride to a town called Salta in the northwest corner of the country. Once there, I met up with Pro Mujer, a microfinance and women’s empowerment organization that works in five Latin American countries. The Argentine branch is the newest, only being in existence four years.

photo | Shea Roggio

On my second day there, I went to a woman’s home to interview her about her loan from Pro Mujer and the communal bank of women she is a part of. Fabiana Torres is a 40-year-old, single mother of three. She runs a sandwich shop out of her home. Her first Pro Mujer loan assisted her in purchasing a grill for the shop.

Fabiana shared with me about her experience of running a business. She works alone, but knows that if she has any problems, the other women in her communal bank will support her completely. She explained that many of the women become like family. Whenever she is going through a difficult time, the others in the communal bank band together to surround and comfort her.

photo | Shea Roggio

Seven nights a week, Fabiana’s sandwich shop is open. Her friendly smile and open door policy welcome all who walk by. Fabiana often finds herself in meaningful conversations with others while she grills them a sandwich. To her, the sandwich shop is a way into people’s lives by listening and encouraging them. She called to a woman walking across the street and asks how her son is, explaining to me that she is a regular and her son was sick last week.

Later that evening, Fabiana cooked a sandwich at her grill, this time for me. We chatted while she worked. She told me that after her divorce, she did not believe that she could do anything on her own, especially start her own business. Through business training and support from her communal bank, Fabiana gained strength and an improved her self esteem. Her thriving business is a testament to her blossoming personality. Fabiana told me that her family’s quality of life has improved since she received her first loan. She looks forward to expanding her business while maintaining her credit with Pro Mujer.

Fabiana Torres. photo | Shea Roggio

As I took my first bite, Fabiana smiled.

Pro Mujer

1 comment:

  1. Where is Fabiana's shop in Salta?