Delia learned the millenarian art of chiseling gourds (carving on desiccated gourds, which are actually fruits) while she was a girl. It was almost a game that, over the years, became the business that allowed her family to prosper and her children to study.
When she was 14, her father signed her up for a competition in Huancayo (Junín) her birthplace, after realizing that the quality of her gourd carving was out of the ordinary. Although she never wanted to take part in the competition, now she admits that her entrepreneurial story began that day. More than 40 years have passed since that competition, the first of many regional, national and international prizes and awards, which have led her to be considered one of the best exponents of Peruvian craftsmanship.
Over the next few years the market for her high quality crafted products grew. “When I started winning competitions they invited me to fairs in Peru and abroad; I sold potatoes and other products to pay for the artisan products and the first trips, but then I saw that I was going to need some extra if I was going to travel”, she recalls.
Although she received help from institutions interested in promoting art, the time came when she needed to generate her own funds if she was to continue taking part in courses and fairs. In fact it was at a trade fair where Delia had the opportunity of learning about the support given to entrepreneurs at one of the first microfinance institutions that would later become today’s Financiera Confianza. Since then, for more than 15 years, she has always worked with Financiera Confianza. Delia believes that none of this would have been possible if Financiera Confianza had not believed in her to give her the credit which underpinned her growth. “Without collateral it was hard to get a loan. We knocked on some doors and the institution supported us. They started lending us a little, and then we needed more and more. It was tough, because I needed long term loans, to be able to work on campaigns and to export. Financiera Confianza has helped us a great deal since 1998”, she continues.
Thanks to those loans and her artistry in chiseling gourds, her three children have had university educations.
Two of them have already qualified as doctors and the third, Consuelo, is also studying medicine.
Seated on a small chair in her house in Cochas Grande (Huancayo), or on the top of the hill overlooking this central Peruvian community, Delia never stops working, imprinting on the surface of the gourds images which reflect her memories and scenes of everyday country life. She works just as the Inca artisans did, with a millenarian artistic technique. It is an innate talent and she says, proudly, that she has never repeated a design.
If there is something that Delia values more than anything, it is the union of her family. That is another reason why she is grateful to Financiera Confianza, because if she had not received its support to continue growing as an artist, her husband would probably have had to work far away. “Thanks to the support of the finance institution we could all stay together”, she says.
“I want my children to be well off, for them to open a clinic if they want, because all three are doctors... That's why I will carry on working, always knocking on the door of Financiera Confianza.”, she concludes.