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Empower 15 Women Entrepreneurs in Nicaragua

A microproject by Self-Help International
Empower 15 Women Entrepreneurs in Nicaragua
Empower 15 Women Entrepreneurs in Nicaragua
Empower 15 Women Entrepreneurs in Nicaragua
Empower 15 Women Entrepreneurs in Nicaragua
Empower 15 Women Entrepreneurs in Nicaragua
Empower 15 Women Entrepreneurs in Nicaragua
Empower 15 Women Entrepreneurs in Nicaragua
Empower 15 Women Entrepreneurs in Nicaragua
Anabel's Thank You Note to Her Supporters
Anabel's Thank You Note to Her Supporters

Translation of Anabel’s thank you note above: "Thanks to Self-Help International and its program for helping us to work. We feel very thankful for this great opportunity of work to move forward in our life along with our children." 

Thank you for your support of our micro-project to empower 15 women in Ochomogo!  We were able to raise enough through this project to support training and micro-loans for 7 of the 15 women who have applied for funding. We disbursed the loans as the funds were receieved and are happy to share with you the progress that one of the first women entrepreneurs - Anabel - is making. 

Anabel is a 28-year-old single mother of two children. And now, thanks to your support of this project to empower women in Ochomogo, she is an entrepreneur and restaurant owner!

Anabel wakes up every morning at four o’clock to prepare the enchiladas, tacos and fresh squeezed juices called “refrescos naturales” that she sells in her restaurant.  Her 11-year-old son, Walter, gets up at the same time as Anabel to help her with house chores like sweeping, washing dishes, cooking and helping take care of his 9-month-old younger brother.  Their family has been through difficult times, and Anabel is determined that her sons will have a bright future. She walks Walter to the nearest school, 10 minutes away each morning, to ensure he gets the formal education he'll need to thrive.  She wants to see him become a “good man, a hard worker, and self-reliant.”

Just a few months ago, Anabel completed Self-Help's entrepreneurship training course and used her first $50 loan to start making and selling fresh natural juice, enchiladas, and tacos. She told me that the business was good, but that she did not have the money to keep investing in it, because she had to make other expenses in the house.

So I sat down with Anabel to review her business and analyze the initial production costs. Together, we found ways to better manage the business to ensure that Anabel could earn more profit from her products to ensure that the business provided an ongoing source of revenue for the family. Together with the other women who recieved loans, we reviewed the lessons from the inital leadership, business management, and basic accounting classes taught during the training. Since Anabel is running a restaurant, I also taught her hygienic standards for her restaurant and home.  Anabel says she even learned how to be more social, and made a better relationship with other women in her community thanks to the trainings.

Anabel said that she was so happy with her first loan of $50.00 from Self-Help International because she never imagined that someone would lend her the money for her business since she didn’t have collateral or any guarantee of support that most banks require. But Self-Help trusted her and provided her the resources and tools she needed to be capable of success. She reported that the $50.00 loan went a long way— it was enough for her to purchase the equipment she needed for her business: two plastic bowls, a plastic bucket, one apron, utensils, and the kitchen supplies need to make tacos, enchiladas and natural juices.

After she repaid her first loan, Anabel saw business growing and requested a second loan of $75 to further invest in her business, which we were able to offer. She used the funds to buy two pigs and two Indian hens. She feels that she is growing little by little and with the profit she receives from her restaurant each day. She is now able to make payments on her house and invests the rest in her family and expansion of business. Anabel shared with us that she is very grateful for the organization and to you - the people whose donations are helping women like her in Nicaragua.

Interested in helping other women like Anabel? A monthly gift of $20 can provide all the necessary training and a micro-loan for a new entrepreneur to start her business. Visit our parent project, Economic Empowerment for 130 Women in Nicaragua  and select "donate monthly" to become a sustainable donor! 

Anabel with her two children
Anabel with her two children
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Maribel dreams of selling her home-made tamales
Maribel dreams of selling her home-made tamales

Why I care and why you should too.   

Imagine standing in an overcrowded bus aisle without any air conditioning on a humid 95-degree day. The bus is made to sit 40, but there’s 75 people struggling like you to get to work, so you reluctantly chose to pay and climb on, rather than wait for a bus that may not come by this stop again. The route over the unpaved mud-covered roads makes for a bumpy trip, so you tighten your grip, clinging to your basket filled of baked goods to sell (making sure you don’t lose any potential profits).

You’re tired. Because your commute takes over an hour, you reflect on your morning—how you woke up early to get your children dressed. You feel remorseful. A few days earlier, you had to make the tough decision to send them to school with a new school uniform, knowing that because of the cost, it meant you’d have to feed them less nutritious meals this month. But you justified this, knowing they’d be fed something, and didn’t want them to be made fun of by their peers at school.

Tired. Uncertain. Making sacrifices. This is an average morning for women like Maribel.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. And it shouldn’t—having to choose between necessities leaves mothers uncertain they made the best choice they could. No one wants to feel that way.

Often times, I meet people who want to help—offering to purchase their textbooks, notebooks, or other school supplies. And although this is a wonderful deed, one has to wonder why the children don’t already have them? Why can’t the mothers afford to buy them?

I spent three months working with mothers and their families in Nicaragua, soaking it all in, in order to understand how I could help these communities. Giving fifty dollars to support one woman jump start her business goes a long way. Women like Maribel know their family’s needs, have a vision and business plan, and have darn good homemade recipes for their business (in Maribel’s case, it’s her amazing tamales). When a group of 15 women come together to the training center in Ochomogo, they bring hope for a brighter future, encourage one another and serve as role models for their daughters. Micro-credit loans empower women so that they don’t have to sacrifice, wondering if they picked the right necessity. Mothers can have both, and as they watch their daughters grow, know that they will have options too. We’re working to ensure that fifteen more women will break the cycle of poverty and become leaders in communities. It’s about sustainability, and lending a hand to women who have to make tough choices everyday.
This is why I care – and why I’m writing to you now, to ask you to join in our mission to give opportunities to those who have none.

Your one-time gift of $50 will offer an initial startup loan to a woman to create a small business.
Your one-time gift of $140 will sponsor business training for one woman in Ochomogo to learn how to start her business.
Your recurring gift of $20 / month covers all training & loans for one year.

If you want to learn more or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me by email at or by phone at (401) 489-9471.


Jacqueline Steinkamp
SHI Communications & Development Officer

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Organization Information

Self-Help International

Location: Waverly, IA - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @SelfHelpIntl
Project Leader:
Nora Tobin
Waverly, IA United States

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