Human Development Loans

Investing in the future (Education and Immigration)

Eric HurtadoEric Hurtado moved to Texas with his mother and sister when he was in fifth grade. His mother expected him to be enrolled in the fourth grade because he didn’t know any English. Instead, the school placed him in an advanced sixth grade class.

Eric excelled in school. He was taking college courses in 10th grade. He graduated 3rd in his class with high honors from El Camino High School in 2005. According to his mother, Eric always wanted to go to college, and he set his sights on Texas A & M business school.

Eric was accepted at Texas A & M with a scholarship, of course, but the family worried about how to pay for extras like books, housing, and living expenses. “We were very stressed about the cost,” his mother recalls. “It would break Eric’s head just thinking about it.”

Eric applied to ACLF for a human development loan to use for his living expenses. In his application essay he wrote, “I will be the first in my family to graduate from college and therefore set an example for my dear sister.”

Now the family is planning for Eric’s graduation from college. His sister, who is 15, is preparing to become an Aggie herself. Their mother explains, “I didn’t have an opportunity for education, but I can instill the importance of it, good habits, and motivation in my children.”

After graduation, Eric will go to work in the business field. He hopes to remain in the Valley, but is willing to move if he must. Wherever he ends up, three things are certain: he will be a role model for his younger sister, he’ll remain grateful to all those who helped him achieve his goal, and he will be very, very successful.

Assistance for students

Human Development loans assist promising colonia students who graduate in the top ten percent of their class and who receive scholarships from colleges outside the Valley, but lack the family financial support to pay for their living expenses. In exchange for the assistance, the student is asked to return to his/her community to serve as a role model and to contribute to his/her community in some way.

ACLF provides small loans up to $2,500 per year to partially cover living expenses.


Savings Projects:
Cooperative Savings Accounts (CSAs)

Cooperative Savings Accounts (CSAs) are commonly known in the Hispanic immigrant community as “Tandas.” They exist in the informal economy and function as voluntary rotating “solidarity” associations that are based on trust. The group participating agrees to make regular contributions to a fund which is distributed in whole to each contributor. Once a member receives a distribution, they continue contributing until all members have received theirs. After every member in the group has received a distribution, the association dissolves, or forms again with new participants. ACLF guarantees the full tanda amount.

Families engage in these “Tandas” to acquire new assets. These assets vary from expanding their home based business ventures to improving the quality of their homes, and home equity. The success of this project is measured by the dollar amount saved, the income generated, jobs created, and number of home improvements. By increasing their financial assets, families become financially stable. Concrete examples of the use of these savings include paying debts, purchasing vehicles, building an addition or fixing kitchen or bathroom in a home, investing in their own business, and saving for college.