Cota Microloan 5.10.16

San Diego, CA – May 10, 2016 – Mariel Cota began a life of safety after escaping an abusive relationship. Now she can also start a life of financial independence with the help of a small business micro loan from Alliance for Hope International’s new project, Proyecto Esperanza – Despues de la Crisis (Project HOPE – After the Crisis) sponsored by the AVON Foundation for Women, the Verizon Foundation, Hera-LABS and the Hispanic Chamber of e-Commerce.

An interest-free loan of $3,000 will enable Mariel to expand her floral design and event planning business so she can support herself and her children. Creating financial independence also helps relieve stress during the long process of emotional recovery from abuse and trauma.  Her business, San Diego Flower Solutions ( will be able to expand with this investment from Alliance for HOPE International.

Survivors of domestic violence require support for a number of critical issues including medical needs, emotional trauma, career development challenges and many others. One in four women and one in seven men are victims of intimate partner violence in their lifetime. Three women and one man are murdered every day in America by a family member or intimate partner. Children are present in more than 60% of intimate partner assaults each year. Many victims and perpetrators of domestic violence grew up in homes with domestic violence.

Dr. Silvia Mah, CEO of Hera-LABS, is one of the partners making it possible for Mariel to develop a safe life and a new career. Dr. Mah founded the entrepreneurial, women-focused Hera-LABS to help empower and nurture women-owned businesses in San Diego and across the nation.

“At Hera-LABS, we are committed to helping women become self-sustaining and to break through barriers to lead safe, productive and successful lives. We recognize the importance of investing in women entrepreneurs so that new businesses today can help other women grow even more in the future,” stated Mah.

In addition to Hera-LABS, another partner of the Alliance is the Hispanic Chamber of e-Commerce, a benefit corporation using the power of business for social good. The organization combines the values of a non-profit with the flexibility an innovation of a tech startup. The HISCEC focuses on empowering business owners through education, technology and the use of the internet as a business tool.

“The Hispanic Chamber of e-Commerce is proud to support Mariel and her small business. Helping grow Mariel’s company will also support other partners she works closely with, delivering benefits throughout the community,” stated Tayde Aburto, Founder of the Hispanic Chamber of e-Commerce. “By helping one person, we recognize that we are helping many.”

Alliance for HOPE International is coordinating the micro-loan program focused on supporting Latina survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.  “We are proud to support Mariel and help create a pathway to financial independence for her and her children,” said Casey Gwinn, President of Alliance for HOPE International.

“We are grateful for the support and generosity of the Avon Foundation for Women, Verizon, Hera-LABS and the Hispanic Chamber of e-Commerce. We appreciate the team effort to make this happen for Mariel, which in turn benefits the entire San Diego community,” said Gael Strack, the Chief Executive Officer of the Alliance.

About Alliance for HOPE International

Alliance for HOPE International operates the Family Justice Center Alliance, Camp HOPE (the first camp in America focused on helping children exposed to domestic violence), the Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention, the Justice Legal Network, the VOICES Survivor Network, and Proyecto Esperanza – Despues de la Crisis (Project HOPE – After the Crisis). Alliance for HOPE serves as the clearinghouse, research center, and national membership organization for all Family Justice Centers and similar multi-agency, multi-disciplinary service delivery models serving victims of domestic violence and related sexual assault and child abuse.

Alliance for HOPE International and its allied Centers serve more than 150,000 survivors of domestic violence and their children each year in the United States. In addition, Alliance for HOPE trains more than 10,000 multi-disciplinary professionals every year in addressing domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, child abuse, and elder abuse.