Fundación En Vía is a non-profit organization working to fight poverty in Oaxaca, Mexico, by combining interest-free microloans, educational programs, and sustainable tourism. Our microloan program gives women the opportunity to create or expand small businesses, empowering them to better provide for themselves and their families. Our educational programs provide them with the knowledge to make better financial decisions to fully capitalize on their loans. And our tourism model allows us to leverage the resources of tourism and funnel it into the community in a sustainable way, while educating travelers about the power of microfinance.
Who We Are
The idea behind En Vía’s microfinance tours was inspired by an article on the Matador Network and a summer research grant funded by StepUp Travel. The research objective was to study the possibility of funding interest-free microloans through a responsible tourism model.
Our project in Oaxaca, the first successful model of its kind, began in 2008 by partnering with women living in poverty who were interested in starting or expanding their businesses, and providing them with interest-free microloans funded by the fees travelers paid to participate in a visit to meet and learn from those women. The model gives borrowers access to critical funding to build their businesses, while also giving travelers the opportunity to connect with the borrowers, and to learn about their culture and goals for development.
Over the next three years Carlos Topete and Emily Berens continued to work diligently to establish relationships within the communities, and build a sustainable and effective microlending program. In 2010, Carlos and Emily officially founded Fundación En Via to continue their efforts to fight poverty around Oaxaca and to educate travelers from around the world about the power of microfinance.
Our commitment to the women and the communities we work within goes far beyond microloans and tours. While microlending can be incredibly effective in helping people escape poverty, it is not a solution in itself, and is most successful when provided alongside educational and community programs. Our aim is to establish long-term relationships with individual communities; and to provide them with carefully considered and integrated programs, in order to have a stronger, more meaningful impact.
What does Fundación En Vía mean?The En Vía name has dual meaning: it stands for Emprendedoras y Viajeros, Intercambiando y Aprendiendo (businesswomen and travelers, exchanging culture and learning). En Vía can also be translated to mean “on the path.”
At En Vía, we’re on the path to fighting poverty, strengthening community and creating social change through active outreach and programs. Our interest-free micro-loans provide more than just money; in addition to our educational programs, they empower women to change their lives, their families and ultimately their futures.
We are extremely grateful for the support of dozens of committed volunteers and hundreds of supporters that have made our work possible. We are also thankful to the women of En Vía. Their courage and commitment to overcome obstacles and improve their livelihoods, is the driving force behind our program.