Riding for microfinance

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Anne and Marie-Eve participated in a conference organized by Micro-Crédit Macro-Action. This association supports micro-entrepreneurs through micro-credit solidarity. They decided to help the people of South America. Discover their “No Ordinary” Story.

Anne is dynamic, bubbly and curious about others. Marie-Eve is athletic, happy to take on new challenges and eager to meet others. This dynamic duo decided to take on the challenge of a project combining support for micro-entrepreneurs, sustainable assistance in the countries of South America, a challenge that brings together sport, discovery and mutual assistance.

MCMA is a Lille-based association that was created in 2014. Today, it has 5 pairs of people who have undertaken a solidarity micro-credit project on the other side of the world. Since its creation, 40,000 km have been crossed by bike, more than 600 micro-entrepreneurs have been helped in 30 countries, with a total of about 250,000 € granted through micro-credit solidarity.

“We often hear that we are a generation in search of meaning.” 

This trip aims to help people excluded from conventional banking systems, who are not creditworthy, through microcredit solidarity. The idea is to help them start their business so that they can generate more income and become independent. Partner Microfinance Institutions (MFIs), such as the Instituto Mayor Campesino (IMCA) in Colombia, provide support, training and small-scale credit of up to 3,000 €, without guarantors. Microfinance has always existed and was popularized thanks to Professor Muhammed Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize winner.

The choice of their destination was Latin America because of the language. Our two adventurers speak Spanish and it is essential for them to be able to interact with the local population as easily as possible, without any intermediary. Moreover, it’s the territory where there are the most MFIs. They decided to travel the 6,000 km separating Ecuador and Colombia ... By bike! For them, it’s the most “universal, friendly and athletic way to get around”. A real personal and athletic challenge!

"We are looking for the best equipment possible on a low budget. Thanks to partnerships like the one with you, we can leave well-equipped!"

To prepare, they had to obtain a tent, sleeping bags, suitable clothes, a bike, key element of this trip and, of course, sunglasses. In partnership with RYDERS, Essilor® Sun Solution™ has provided sunglasses with NXT® lenses equipped with E-Sun Varia™ technology that adapt the level of protection from light to dark according to light conditions. 

“Everyone had a different story and different motivations, but what they have in common is the will to move forward.” 

Over these six months, they helped dozens of people, many of them women, to benefit from microcredit to start their business and gain some degree of freedom and independence. They supported very good initiatives, implemented in difficult contexts and remote areas. The desire of everyone to keep going further, gives way to beautiful achievements.

Beyond their primary objective, which was to help micro-entrepreneurs, they also took advantage of the trip to discover the landscapes and cultures of Latin America. They left with numerous memories, including the great rise of Laguna Quilotoa in Ecuador, in the heart of the Andes.
Through this challenge, they want to convey a message: that of believing in oneself. It’s never easy to organize and launch a project. It requires surrounding yourself with people who share your dream. This trip also aims to spread the word about microfinance, a tool in full growth which makes it possible to find a suitable solution for many people who have sometimes lost hope.

“In our meetings with high school students, we also like to tell them to hold on to their dreams and to keep fighting their struggles. If they can’t achieve them now, one day they will be able to. The hardest part is getting started.” 

After this trip, Anne and Marie-Eve are ready to write new No Ordinary stories, each more inspiring than the other, in France or elsewhere. Bravo to them both!

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