Learning by Doing: Rosa’s Story

Rosa in front of her oven

My name is Rosa Candida Sequeira. I am from the Laurel Galán community, located 3 kms from the Self-Help International main office. I am 56 years old and I have three children. Two of them are already grown and married, living right next to my house. My youngest daughter is 13 years old. During the afternoons, she attends high school. In the mornings, she helps me in the house and, sometimes, she even goes out into the community to sell the products I prepare.

Rosa showing off her products, cornbread (bollos and rosquillas) and cream

Four months ago I became a member of the Self-Help International micro-credit program. I received the first loan of $50 after receiving basic trainings to improve my marketing skills and product quality.

The cream that Rosa makes

My business is selling dairy products such as different types of fresh cheeses and cream. I also make tortillas and corn bread products which need cheese and milk to be prepared. With the $50 loan I was able to purchase more provisions to make my products. In the past, I could afford just one quintal of corn but with the loan, I was able to purchase two quintals.

I feel grateful to be part of the micro-credit program because I have seen a change in my business. Ever since joining, I have been prospering. Thanks to God and thank you donors. I feel very happy to have this prosperity in my life. Before this loan I used to make 100 tortillas a day. Now, I make 150 tortillas every day and sell all of them, fresh, in the same day, and, sometimes people are even asking for more! I’m not able to do more because it’s a lot of work for me on my own.

Rosa keeping track of her budget – a skill she gained in SHI trainings

I usually earn about $6.25 per day from the tortillas – or about $162.50/month, which is an average salary here in Nicaragua. I only make the cornbread twice a week, every Monday and Friday, making 1500 pieces each time. My daughter-in-law helps me whenever I make the cornbread because they are baked in the oven and we still use the traditional oven which is difficult for me to handle on my own.

From the cornbread, I earn $15.62 per day, so from the 8 times a month that we make them I earn $124.96, another average salary for a regular Nicaraguan workers. And, like I said before, I also make a variety of fresh cheese and cream from which I am also earning a good profit. It’s great because the word has spread and people already know of my products; in most cases, they come to my house to make purchases.

From my profits, I pay my daughter-in-law for her work. In this way, we help each other. I am using the rest of my income to provide a better life for my daughter: to give her the education she needs for the future, so she will be able to go to college. Of course, I am also taking care of the basic needs of my house and myself.

Thank you for the training, which has had helped me greatly improve the care and hygiene of my business, how to calculate profits, and how to manage my business well. I thank all the donors who take their time to help the women of Nicaragua. May God bless all of you. Thank you very much.