Sewing machine

Despite losing her business and her parents, Virginia found the strength to overcome the biggest challenge of her life. 

For years, Virginia Álvarez Castillo sold shoes out of a catalogue in Valle de Chalco, Mexico. Sales took a big hit when the pandemic erupted, damaging her household’s finances.

However, her biggest burden was coming to terms with the death of her parents amid the crisis. Not to be undeterred, she drew inspiration from her daughter to use the adversity as an opportunity to turn the corner.

The dressmaker started a business producing one of the pandemic most-used products. With a small loan of six thousand pesos (EUR 245), she bought two sewing machines and material to make face masks she now sells for 15 pesos (EUR 0.62) each.

Hear Virginia's story
Hear Virginia's story
Virginia’s business

Like with Mercedes Cruz Hilpas, when Tuiio gave Virginia the means to buy what she needed to kick-start her business, it marked a pivotal point in both her personal and financial recovery. The loan boosted Virginia’s business, which she hopes to expand in the future. As she explains, “it doesn't matter how many times we fall, what matters is our ability to get back up”.

Since launching in 2017, Santander México’s Tuiio initiative has granted close to EUR 92 million (2.257 billion pesos) to over 177,000 customers, with more than 134,000 loans to low-income households during the pandemic.


Santander Finance for All is Banco Santander's programme to promote financial inclusion. We help society prosper in the countries where we operate through access to basic financial products and services (even in remote areas) to support people at risk of exclusion so they can thrive in their work, and through the promotion of financial education. It boosts our commitment to financially empowering 10 million people by 2025 through Tuiio in Mexico, Prospera in Brazil and Uruguay, Superdigita in Brazil, Mexico and Chile (these last two are expanding in Latin America), and other initiatives.

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