Commuting to Success

Adriana with her new and improved oven

Adriana with her new and improved oven

I am writing to you today about Adriana because she is an outstanding example of how determination and hard work paired with resources and education can help a woman not only provide for her own family, but create employment for other community members to care for their families as well!

At 49-years-old, she and her husband live in the community of Las Azucenas, a rural community near the Self-Help International office, along with their five adult children, their spouses, and one grandchild, all of whom are dependent on her.

Adriana wanted to stay active in her community, and desired work to improve her life. She began making tacos, enchiladas, cheese, and natural juices, to sell along with other goods such as sodas. She sold her products for several months in her local community, and then began to wonder whether she could reach a larger consumer population – and sell more of her products – if she began utilizing the public transportation system to make her sales. Adriana decided she would give it a try—she woke up earlier than usual to prepare her products, and then each morning, around 10:00am, she would reach the bus that traveled from her community, Las Azucenas, to the Nicaraguan and Costa Rican border, to sell her items. She realized the potential she could have with her businesses if she expanded, so she decided she would sell a larger variety and range of products, allowing her customers to have more food choices for their commutes. Each day she said she would finish working by 4:00 pm, and would feel proud and happy with her active life and work that was consistent and full-time.

Several months later, Adriana heard of a micro-credit program that supported women in her community. Wanting to learn more about this program, she came to me and I told her more about how we offer business training and small business loans to help women like her expand their enterprises. After hearing her ambition to create more business, I knew she was just the type of hardworker we like to partner wish and could gain a lot by starting our training. She was eager to attend as many sessions as she could about our program because after joining, Adriana was learning in other subjects as well, such as basic accounting, hygiene, and marketing. She learned how to efficiently evaluate herself and her business, while learning new skills in how to better manage it. Adriana demonstrated her knowledge of these program areas by applying them to her business; for example, she now properly serves her products in a hygienic way by utilizing gloves while serving and wearing an apron and net to cover herself. In addition, she has used the financial skills she has acquired through the program and put it to use.

She has been using her loans to purchase metal sheets to repair her kitchen roof. Her goal is to continue working towards purchasing other materials to improve her kitchen since she wants to upgrade it from a wooden kitchen to a concrete kitchen. Adriana has also expanded her products after using a loan from our program to build herself a more efficient, environmentally friendly oven. With her improved oven, she now bakes bread, pizza, and cakes, in addition to her previous products.

Adriana standing in her garden at her home

Adriana standing in her garden at her home

Determined is an understatement with Adriana. Aside from taking up all of the trainings she could to improve her work, she also attended agricultural trainings with our Quality Protein Maize (QPM) program at our center so that she could improve the health of her family. When I visited her home, I was surprised by the several fruits and vegetables she successfully has growing in her backyard, making her land useful and productive. Among her garden, were zucchini, squash, cinnamon, corn, and oranges trees.

Adriana told me during the interview,“I am so exciting with my business, because it is going well, so well, that now I am no able to cover all my clients needs and more. I made the decision to hire one young girl to help me sell my products in our community or on the bus, and I pay her a percentage from the sales made (usually around 20%). For example, if she sells $41.38 (USD) worth of products daily, $8.28 for assisting me in my business. I thank God for I am doing well. My business is growing very fast, so I am trying to help another person grow her business and teach her the skills she needs so she can have her own someday.”

Helping women like Adriana through programs similar to the Micro-Credit Program and the QPM program, not only empowers them to improve their lives, but also helps them better their communities.

When I asked her if she wanted to say anything to the individuals who supported her loans, she responded, “Thank you very much Self-Help International, the Micro – Credit Program and all the people of good heart and good will that are always willing to help the woman from this country, especially us from the rural communities that are in need the most.” She added, “There are so many other women like me that need help with loans, training, and support. I am so happy that there is a program dedicated to doing just that.”

Thank you for your continued support of empowering hundreds of women like Adriana. We’re working hard to expand to connect more women with the training and resources they need to create economic opportunities in their communities to help families not only survive, but thrive.