Like Mother, Like Daughter – Inspiring the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

By Yolanda Fletes – Women’s Empowerment Program Officer. Translated and edited by Katie Seifert, Latin America Program Specialist, and edited by Megan Sehr, Development Director.

Adriana’s daughter, Genesis.

Adriana is a long-time beneficiary of Self-Help International, and she is famous in the Women’s Empowerment Program for being an excellent saver. She saves extra coins in a metal pail, and she is so dedicated that if she ever takes money out of her savings pail, she forces herself to charge herself interest. She must repay the pail in full, with 10% interest, in order to allow herself to use those savings.

Adriana manages to run her business and raise her daughter as a single mother. Her daughter, Genesis, is 14 years old. Four years ago, Adriana encouraged Genesis to get involved in Self-Help’s youth-serving program in which children received broiler chicks and experimented feeding the chicks Quality Protein Maize (QPM). Ultimately, they concluded that the chicks fed QPM weighed more than those fed traditional maize and generated more profits.

Genesis says this experience was unforgettable and highly motivating. She remembers that when it came time to sell her QPM-fed chicken she made 190 cordobas (about $5.58 USD). She followed her mother’s lead in savings and set her money aside. One day, she asked her mom for a pair of sandals, which cost 300 cordobas ($8.81 USD), but Adriana told her daughter that the sandals were too expensive and that she couldn’t buy them. Inspired by her own mother’s entrepreneurship and what she’d learned from her broiler experiment with Self-Help, Genesis decided she would work to get the rest of the money to buy the sandals.

Trucks commonly pass through rural communities in Nicaragua selling different types of food, and one day a truck selling vegetables passed by Genesis and Adriana’s house. Using her savings from the broiler chick project, Genesis bought 2 large watermelons at 80 cordobas ($2.35 USD) each to start her business. Witnessing her daughter’s budding entrepreneurship, Adriana helped Genesis cut each watermelon into 10 pieces. Genesis took the 20 pieces of watermelon with her to school, and sold each piece at 10 cordobas ($0.29 USD), garnering a net profit of 20 cordobas ($0.59 USD).

This is how Genesis started her business, and by the time watermelon season was over, she had managed to save 300 cordobas – enough to buy the sandals she wanted. Once mango season started, Genesis went to her grandmother’s house where there is a mango tree in the yard. Her grandmother cuts down the mangos, and Adriana helps her peel them. Now in high school, Genesis brings 10 baggies of cut and peeled mango with her to school which she sells to her classmates at 10 cordobas per baggie.

With her earnings, Genesis buys notebooks, pencils, and other school supplies. She tells us that she learned to save through Self-Help. Genesis is also very proud of her mother who, despite not having much and being a single mom, has always remained inspired to get ahead and provide her daughter the best life possible.

Genesis’ dream is to become a pediatric doctor or a systems engineer. Her current goal is to continue saving so that once she goes to university she’ll be able to help her mother financially. She hopes that once she’s completed university and entered a professional career, she’ll be able to give back to her mom – she wants to build Adriana a nice little house with chickens and a puppy.