Zenaida’s Children Brag That Their Mother is a Businesswoman with Self-Help International

By Yolanda Fletes – Women’s Empowerment Program Officer

Zenaida and her children.

30-year-old Zenaida lives with her four young children in Laurel Galán, Nicaragua. She is a baker, and she uses a big pan on top of an open flame to bake bread, pastries, enchiladas, and tacos. In addition, she makes natural juice drinks and fruit salads. Zenaida wakes up at 4 a.m. every day to prepare her foods, which she sells at the nearby school.

Zenaida’s older children – her 9-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son – help a lot with her business. When Zenaida’s younger children, ages 7 and 8, come home from school each day, they also help their mother with her business. Zenaida’s youngest son, Robin Jr., sells her products on the buses. Robin is already thinking of a better future for himself, and he dreams of growing up to become a doctor to help those in need.

Three months ago (Jan. 2020), Zenaida was walking around Laurel Galán with her tray of bread for sale when she noticed a group of women gathered around – it was a Self-Help International Women’s Empowerment training session. With her bread still in her hands, she joined the group of women at their table and asked what they were doing and how she could be a part of their program. Zenaida became frustrated when she saw the women writing, and she explained that the only thing she could write was her own name. The other women insisted that Zenaida join their group, and they all agreed on a date for their next meeting.

On the day of the meeting, Zenaida arrived with her son Robin, who helped her take notes during the training. She learned about topics such as: self-esteem and leadership; the power of the mind; poverty and its causes; business management and entrepreneurship; accounting; and preparing a business plan. Zenaida hoped that with Robin’s support, she could access a loan from Self-Help to strengthen her business and install an improved oven for her bakery.

“I like to participate in the training provided by Self-Help’s Women’s Empowerment Program because I learn something new and put it into practice,” Zenaida said. “Since joining the program, I can feel a change in my mentality.

Robin helping his mom with her business.

“I am taking better control of my business because I’m now able to keep track of my costs with the help of my son. Before the training, I only knew that I had profits when I noticed I had extra money left over from what I had invested.

“Now, I’ve learned to keep track of monthly savings for emergencies and investments. I feel very motivated and I thank everyone who takes the time to support the program in Nicaragua,” Zenaida said. “We are low-income women, and with the support of Self Help and the Women’s Empowerment Program, we can now get ahead.

“My greatest wish is to see my four children go to school and become professionals. I have faith in God I can achieve this goal because of Self-Help’s support,” Zenaida said. “Self-Help gives us not only loans, but also training, consultancies, follow-ups, recommendations, and meetings – both in the communities and at the training center.

“My children and I are very grateful and happy with the support Self-Help is giving us. My children are very happy that I am participating in the program, and they tell the other children at school that their mother is a businesswoman with Self-Help.”