I've spent over half of my life working to achieve my dreams. For a long time, I didn’t care or give any importance to where my income came from and always relied on my partner’s resources or money that I could find on the streets from one day to the other. My partner and I were involved in gang activity and it wasn’t until I was incarcerated that my life finally began to change. After my release, I was back on the streets when I ran into someone handing out flyers about a training program. The program really appealed to me and I saw it as an opportunity to change my life.
After the 7-week program, I felt more confident about myself and about my abilities. I had always wanted to start my own business and I dabbled into a few options, like selling purses, perfumes, and jewelry that I obtained from the free zone at a lower price. Then I saw an opportunity to sell fried food to construction workers, late night shift police officers and as my food got more popular, I decided to turn this into my main source of income.
Building my own business did not come easy, my food was low cost and the sales did not provide high profits. I was a partner with another person that I met through a local church but his level of commitment was not the same and this resulted in many conflicts. These conflicts forced me to push myself a lot harder to keep up the production of daily meals on track so that I could build the business on my own. I proposed to Fundacion Calicanto an idea that would be beneficial to us both; I would provide the daily food they need for the other women in the program and through Global Giving they could announce my work and business goals to raise funds for a large refrigerator that would hold my food products and desserts and some large pans. Not only would I have to provide daily meals for the women in the program; but I would also have to find the remaining 40% of the funds needed for the entire purchase. After 3 months, I was finally able to save up the money and purchased all the materials needed for my business. I am now the official supplier of food for the program from which I graduated in 2013.
Today, thanks to CAPTA (a seven-week employment training), I am a businesswoman. I started selling homemade meals to Fundacion Calicanto, my neighbors and members of the local police force. Thanks to the training I received, I live a more stable life and can provide food for my family on a daily basis. We live in a very dangerous, high-risk area and I do my best to educate my daughter and provide the best that I can. She is now attending a bilingual private school and doing very well.
Thanks to the money raised through Global Giving, I could pursue with my dreams as a businesswoman. Today, I am a role model for other women, I've created jobs in my community and above all, I am able to spend more time with my loved ones and give them the life they deserve.
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