Selinita stands with her flower stand.
Selinita Cabrera, 42 years old, lives in the neighborhood of Arenales in Ica, Peru. It was here that she had saved enough money to build a small adobe home for herself, her husband, her 17-year-old son, and her 67-year-old mother. Selinita earns her living selling flowers at the door of a nearby cemetery where she owns a flower stand.
Shortly after the earthquake, the CHF Emergency Response Team (CERT) met with Selinita at her flower stand. On the day of the quake, her mother had been resting at her house. “I was here working at the stand and ran to get my mother out of the house. But I arrived too late and found my house completely destroyed,” Selinita sadly recounted. “All night we looked for my mother’s body in the rubble, but we didn’t find it until the next day. I spent all of my savings on her funeral. We came to live here at the flower stand. Our beds are in the shed where I normally store the flowers. Look at how we are living….”
Two months later, Selinita is now back to work at the same flower stand, thanks to a small business grant from CHF International and the AIG Disaster Relief Fund. “Now I have the capital to begin again. First, CHF helped me with a shelter to live in where we are [doing much] better. And it is now the second week that I have brought flowers to sell. With the profits, little by little I will improve my stand.”
Doña Luisa Araujo Bautista is a 56-year-old entrepreneur who runs a small food stand called “The Menu” in Ica, Peru. The earthquake on August 15th left her, her husband, and her three daughters without a home or their food stand, the primary source of income for this family.
“I was with my daughters in our house on the day of the earthquake. When we realized that the earthquake wasn’t stopping, we ran out of the house. In the passageway next to our house, part of the wall fell down and hit my daughter’s leg. When my husband tried to help her, he also got hurt. He still hasn’t been able to return to work as a bricklayer. At my food stand, I didn’t have dishes to serve food in or anywhere for people to sit, so my clients went to other places for lunch.”
With CHF International’s help, Luisa was able to purchase a stove, tables, benches, and dishware for her food stand. Now she and her daughters have begun a new phase of their business. “I didn’t believe that anyone was going to help us. We registered for assistance after the earthquake, but no one ever came back to help. Now that I have seen everything you have brought us--- no one has ever helped us like this. We will never forget CHF. We will always cherish this sticker to show everyone who helped us.”
“I look at how the number of clients has grown now that we have somewhere to sit and dishes. Now that we are working again, we don’t think about what the earthquake took from us. Thanks to you, we will regain everything through our hard work,” expressed Luisa.
“So, when will you come for lunch?”
CHF plans to distribute 300 micro-business grants and complete 500 shelters by December. Help us to increase this number by half -- or even more!
Dona Luisa and her new food stand.
Dona Luisa shows off the interior of her new transitional shelte