Bio: Mabilia Carolina Joj Ojer – Guatemala
At 19 Mabilia began to work with women in her country of Guatamala. She was passionate about women becoming self-sufficient and saw micro-credit as a key resource for them to do that.
For seven years Mabilia worked as a loan officer with FAPE (Fundacíon de Asistencia para la pequeña Empresa). Now she is a Coordinator in this organization, a position that allows her to influence policy and continue her strong push to help women develop savings accounts.
While deeply aware of the impact of micro-loans in enabling women to better provide for their families, Mabilia and her organization also recognize that the loans themselves are not an adequate single solution to a better life. They are continually seeking to work wholistically with the women they serve. They teach basic skills such as reading and writing. They seek ways to provide health service and health education. They provide training in business topics such as how to make a plan for their business. They help women recognize how much of their own energy and skill they invest in creating their products. “I didn’t know my own value,” women often say. “Yes,” Mabilia observes, “these women empower themselves and one another.” They learn to support each other. They learn to work together. They experience a great sense of solidarity.
Mabilia is seen as a leader, an example of a woman who knows her own value, and contributes in a meaningful way to her community. Recently a mother confided to her, “I want my daughter to get an education and have a job like you, not just get married.”
Mabilia was an iLEAP Fellow in 2010, enhancing her leadership skills through her participation in this program and learning with and from the other Fellows.