My name is Agustina, my mother is a housemaid, my dad is a chauffer and I have 7 brothers. Seventeen years ago I arrived to the city with a dream to start my own business. My aunt and I started a restaurant but not everything turned out as we planned. The business broke financially and we had to sell absolutely everything to pay off debts. I was completely broke and alone, when I met someone who tried to help me I fell in love and I thought he was the man of my dreams. He helped me start another business selling fried foods in Santa Ana (urban community in Panama City), but I barely made enough to feed my daughter.
With time, the relationship went sour. He was rude and would mouth-off when he got home drunk; he cheated and didn’t respect me, I was constantly humiliated. I realized that he got worse with time and I decided to leave him. I felt trapped and then I found out that I was pregnant with his child. I felt that my life had lost meaning. I continued to work at the stand but it wasn’t enough, we didn’t have enough to eat and didn’t live well.
One day as I was walking to the local church, I ran into a gentleman who started talking to me about something called Calicanto. A few days later, I signed up for the CAPTA course. At first I thought it was a little silly and I was also scared since I didn’t have any skills or preparation for this course.
I still remember the first day when we met Ms. Hildegard, she said that this was a day for change and that from that moment on, we would start our new life. During the course, I woke up at 4:00 a.m. every day; it was really tough! I had to organize myself and learn to do things with time.
I started to value myself and I saw that there were so many women like me who had gone through similar difficulties. These women were my friends, I learned to love myself through them while learning a new skill. I have been employed now for 4 years as a housekeeper in a hotel located in Casco Antiguo. I work and enjoy what I do. I am starting to learn English and I hope to get a better position in the future.
I own my home, which I bought with my savings and hard work.
CAPTA changed my life. Help Calicanto keep changing lives.
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