The Women’s Empowerment Program Benefits Rural Women Personally and in Business

By Yolanda Fletes – Women’s Empowerment Program Officer

Beatriz making fresh juice for her business!

34-year-old Beatriz lives in the small Nicaraguan community of Laurel Galán. She lives with her husband and their four children – two boys and two girls, who attend elementary and high school.

Beatriz’s business used to involve selling homemade bread door-to-door with her children early each morning. She didn’t make much money in her business, and she used to complain desperately to her neighbor about wanting to make more money so that she could better support her household and her children’s education. The neighbor invited Beatriz to a training session with Self-Help International’s Women’s Empowerment Program.

The first Self-Help training Beatriz attended was about self-esteem and leadership. These were completely new concepts to her. It was especially poignant to Beatriz to learn how she could build on her self-esteem because of her own personal life experiences. Self-Help staff told Beatriz that all people are valuable, which was a radical concept to Beatriz when she first joined the Women’s Empowerment Program.

Now, Beatriz and her husband live a life filled with respect for one another. They regularly attend church as a couple, and Beatriz credits Self-Help with helping her grow more confident. Today, Beatriz works as a counselor in her church, counseling couples on how to succeed and sharing her own life experience as an example.

After her first training with Self-Help, Beatriz continued attending more training sessions by Program Officer Yolanda Fletes. She attended the Business Creativity Training, the Business Management and Entrepreneurship Training, and a training about writing business plans.

Beatriz and her family.

Beatriz really wanted to learn from the training sessions so she could implement the lessons in her business. Even though she had to sell her bread in the morning, Beatriz made sure to be up extra early so that she could show up on time for training sessions. Also, because Beatriz had never had the opportunity to learn to read or write, she brought her daughter to each training so that her daughter could help Beatriz take notes.

Beatriz continues to like participating in the training sessions because she enjoys the diverse topics and always learning new things. She feels the training sessions have helped her change her life.

Beatriz also received a loan of $5,000 cordobas (approx. $143 USD) from Self-Help to invest in her business. As of Oct. 2020, her business sells vegetables, natural juices, and her homemade bread. Beatriz is happy that Self-Help’s training sessions have helped her take better financial control of her businesses. Before, she didn’t know if she was profiting or losing money in her day-to-day sales; now, with the support of her 14-year-old daughter, her business has better documentation of its costs and its income.

Beatriz thanks the good-hearted people that have made this program possible. She is especially thankful that she has empowered herself personally and in her business.