Corporacion Interactuar

The mission of Interactuar is to generate and support the permanent employment in the department of Antioquia, through the creation and consolidation of small units of production, commerce or services, leading its enterprise development by means of financial services, of formation and commercialization and centering its action in the population of limited resources.
Jun 25, 2015

Your Donations Bought Sofia a New Machine!!

Sofia explaining how her new machine will help her
Sofia explaining how her new machine will help her

Today was an emotional day for both Ana Sofía and the Together for Colombia team.

 

Sofía contracted polio when she was only 2 and lost full use of her legs and right arm. We have been working with Sofía since the beginning of this year, supporting her through our project ´Transform the Lives of 5 Entrepreneurs in Colombia’. Sofía has her own business designing and hand-making leather bags, wallets and items of clothing.

 

The reason that today was so special is because today we gave Sofía her new bespoke, tailor made sewing machine. The machine, that has raised and widened pedals with an extra side pane, makes use much more easy for Sofía. The machine table also stands taller than a normal machine to allow for Sofía’s wheelchair to fit underneath.

 

The smile on Sofía’s face as she excitedly showed us how she would use her machine was really heartwarming. She explained that by replacing her ‘nearly 100 year old machine’ we were ensuring that her products would be made to a higher quality, making them more competitive in the market. She also explained that it would be easier to teach her staff, comprised of other people from her community with disabilities, on this machine compared to the old one. Sofía’s passion for her work and dedication to helping other disabled people, who would otherwise face difficulty finding employment, was palpable. She is an amazing woman who has achieved wonderful things, despite the difficulties she faces daily. Thanks to your generous donations we were able to change Sofía’s life for the better.

 

Hopefully this video will show you and others how easy it is to help small business owners in Colombia and will encourage you to continue supporting them, via Together for Colombia.

 

So we want to say thank you again, from us at Together for Colombia and from a very smiley and grateful Sofía!!

 

Watch Sofía’s thank you video here.

We love to see your donations making people smile!
We love to see your donations making people smile!
Signing the paperwork...
Signing the paperwork...
Jun 24, 2015

Progress in Productivity and Education

Dear Supporters,

 

We hope this message finds you well and that you are enjoying the coming Summer. We have raised a considerable amount of money for the ‘A New Beginning’ project since our last report and for that, I’d like to say THANK YOU!!

 

We continue to be surprised by the tenacity that the community of Los Medios shows. Not only this, but the warmness and kindness of the people of Los Medios is something that we at Together for Colombia enjoy every time we go to visit.

 

The lives of the families of Los Medios have been changing for the better since we were able to start helping them move back to their homes. As you are well aware, the community which is mainly focussed on Panela production, received specialised training in the sugar-cane growing and panela production processes. They acquired invaluable skills from an experienced agronomist Dinora Patricia, which have allowed them to modify their business processes to increase efficiency and revenue.

 

For example the dynamic performance training inspired harvests of sugar-cane (which take a year to yield) and frijoles beans (which only take four months) to be alternated, to allow the less nutrient demanding frijoles crop to regenerate the soil. This regeneration process means the next sugar-cane crop is of a better quality and can therefore demand a higher price in the panela market.  Additionally the community can supplement their income by selling the frijoles yield, which comes in 3 times a year.

 

The Los Medios community has seen further reaching developments as well, including a higher matriculation rate in the local school. There are now 94 students and 5 teachers at the school, which is a great increase from previous years. Students are coming from neighbouring villages to enrol in what was once a desolate and empty building, but what is now a blooming centre for education.

 

Over and above the amazing developments already achieved, we still have some progress to make. The ‘campesino’, or rural, mentality needs to be continuously moulded to allow for increasing change and innovation. With our help, the community has begun to learn new ways of production and generation, but they understandably are still hesitant to completely renovate their practices. With your help, we can continue to show them small changes, that do not compromise the integrity of the community, people, traditions or product, but that will help them to learn and develop into more entrepreneurial business owners.

 

We have the next trip to Los Medios in the diary and will certainly be sending you an update as soon as we return. In the meantime, if there is anything you would like to say or comment on, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

 

As ever, we at Together for Colombia, and the community of Los Medios, are eternally grateful for your generous donations.

 

Speak soon and take care!

Daniel

Jun 9, 2015

Continuing Sofia's Story

Dear Supporters,

It's time to check back in with Sofia, who we introduced to you in mid February of this year. Sofía has been severely disabled since she was two years old but, unwilling to let her disability define and restrict her, Sofía learnt to sew, completed training with the SENA (a national educational institution) and started her own business manufacturing leather wallets, bags and souvenirs.

Our project with Sofía has been in conjunction with Associación Amigos con Calor Humano, who have been assisting with the psychological and self-management training aspects of this project.

Currently, Sofía is in the last phase of her training – ‘Camino con Amigos’ (Walk with Friends) which focuses on evaluating how Sofía can improve and advance her business. The funds that you donated on Global Giving helped to support this evaluation process.

The ‘Camino con Amigos’ phase involves training Sofía in the social, psychological, familial, occupational and business dimensions of her work environment. Understanding these better will allow Sofía to produce a plan that is more closely aligned to her personal and business needs.  

Sofía’s wealth of experience, perseverance, motivation, leadership skills and creativity means she knows what she wants and is well positioned to achieve her goals. Her family support her in both the production process and in finding new customers.

With the donations that you made to Sofía’s business, Together for Colombia were able to buy her a new bespoke sewing machine, especially tailored for easier use. With this new machine Sofía will be able to increase her productivity and increase sales.

However Sofía still has challenges to overcome, such as expanding her marketing strategy to ensure that her brand is more widely recognised, standardising the process of purchasing raw materials and finding a pricing system that ensures sufficient profits are made.

Her goal is to be able to employ a small staff, comprised of others with disabilities, so she can simultaneously grow her business and contribute positively to her community.

We will continue to support Sofía on her journey, so keep an eye on the Global Giving page for updates on how she is getting on, including an upcoming video of her receiving her bespoke sewing machine!

Thank you as ever for your generous donations. With your help we can change the lives of everyday Colombians through entrepreneurship. 

Stay in touch!

Daniel Marulanda

Project Leader 

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