Juan Pena Salas at Esperanza

Working at Esperanza as a financial analyst has been an incredible experience with a lot of engaging and fun opportunities. My main responsibility involves monthly reporting and analysis for the organization. These reports are then used to make decisions on the organization’s performance and methods, and they help Esperanza to recognize which branches of the organization are under/over performing.

I have been pleasantly surprised by the large amount of exposure I have gotten to the management of the organization, and I have even had the opportunity o participate in monthly managerial meetings where all of the branch managers participate. When I’m not working on reporting, I have a long-term project where I have to assess the different products and services Esperanza offers, and ultimately present my findings at a board meeting. Thanks to this project, I have been able to see all the products and services offered by Esperanza and their work in a number of different branches.

Thanks to my responsibilities, I have been able to learn a lot about microfinance and social entrepreneurship. I have learned how hard it can be to provide microfinance services to the poorest of the poor. I have seen how many things have to come together to be able to reach people in need, and not only offer microfinance, but additional services such as dental clinics and cervical exams. This has showed me how important any assistance can be for the poorest of the poor, and how their climb out of poverty is much more likely when microfinance is coupled with additional services like health and education. I have also learned how important savings can be in order to have a stable financial base and the power that this can have in changing someone’s life.

I have also seen how different broader programs directed towards church ministries and schools can have a big impact as well. I have gotten to know social entrepreneurs, who, thanks to Esperanza, have set up a water purifying business or have installed solar panels to lower their schools electricity bill and even make a profit by putting the power back into the grid.

Overall, my experience at Esperanza has been amazing. Esperanza has given me the opportunity to see many parts of the Dominican Republic and it has allowed me to share my time with some incredible people. I have lived in two different cities (San Pedro de Macoris and Santo Domingo) throughout my time here and I loved both of them. I have gotten to know some awesome people, both Dominicans and international visitors, during my stay in the Dominican Republic. Most importantly I think my time here has been very productive and I know that what I am learning here will help me with my studies and career path in the future.

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