Teamwork Brings Ovens to La Venada

Bertha and her new oven

“My wife could have her own oven and wouldn’t have to go to other houses to rent one, which means she can bake at any time she wants, and we can save money on firewood.” – Antolin

It’s not often in the women’s micro-credit program that you hear of a wife and husband actively participating and working together in two of Self-Help International’s programs. After word of mouth traveled about the new and improved ovens that were being constructed in several rural communities, Bertha, a member of the Micro-credit program, and Antolin, her husband and a member of the Los Chiles Cooperative, decided to host an informational training session in their home with SHI’s Micro-credit Officer.

Maria Magdalena builds her oven along with her husband, children, and her friend Maralexa, (white T-shirt) who is also a member of the group of 4 mentioned below

Antolin and Bertha are from La Venada, a small community located 27 kilometers (17 miles) away from Self-Help’s office in Quinta Lidia, Nicaragua.

In an interview with SHI micro-credit officer, Yolanda, Antolin says, “My wife is always taking care of the house and never complains about anything. After learning about the existence of this type of improved oven, my wife was very excited and asked me to get one for her. I knew it would be an additional expense, but after thinking about it, I realized all of the benefits this oven can bring to my house.

He tells Yolanda, “My wife could have her own oven and wouldn’t have to go to other houses to rent one, which means she can bake at any time she wants, and we can save money on firewood (the new and improved oven uses 70% less firewood than traditional ovens).” This means Antolin and Bertha would spend less time collecting firewood and give Bertha more time to focus on her recipes. Together they realized they could bring these benefits to others in their community. They decided to invite the women from the neighborhood to their home and coordinate a day-long training session to learn about the benefits of the new technology.

Maralexa helping in the construction of Maria Magdalena’s Oven

The training took place on January 30th. Eighteen women participated, as well as Antolin and his and Bertha’s two sons. Four of the 18 women decided to become members of the Micro-credit program that day and immediately requested that Yolanda organize the next meeting soon so they too could become independent providers for their households.

After two months of this type of training, the four women have successfully built their own ovens and said that they are excited to assist their neighbors in constructing ovens once their neighbors request their own. The women are also now requesting training seminars for baking with different recipes. As the group leader and representative, Bertha tells SHI,  “Thank you for coming to our community and giving us this new opportunity to keep moving ahead in our daily needs and personal growth.”

The 3rd oven completed in La Venada

Maralexa, who is the youngest of the group, said, “I am so excited that I learned how to build the ovens that now I want to help build them everywhere! I also want to learn how to be a good baker in order to sell my products everywhere. Thank you so much for this great opportunity; I will do my best to keep learning and in this way help my family. God bless all of you!”