My name is Celestina Gutierrez Herrera and I live in Rinconada, Nicaragua. Thanks to the partnership of Advane I am finally able to live my dream of owning my own store at age 60.
Being a woman in my country, there is no support to open a business or have your produce sold on the market. In addition to discrimination, we don’t have access to credit and loans. If I hadn’t received help from Advance I would have been a housewife my whole life because we are excluded by society.
But I am no longer the same as before, a shy woman. I recognize that within me there is capacity and that I can get ahead and help other women. Let me tell you how.
Eight years ago I became involved in my first Advance project: low-cost community initiatives for raising hens. After that it was a water and sanitation system and then other food security initiatives and I told myself, “this is an organization to have a relationship with.”
Most recently I have been a beneficiary of the Self-Management Program for women and youth. In 2018 Advance provided me a $1,000 loan for the purchase of half a block of land which I use to plant corn, beans, and other crops. I worked with the Advance technicians to develop skills to achieve a successful business and empowerment as a woman.
This year was the first time I achieved a production of 3,000 pounds of beans. I sold 1,000, left 800 for next year’s crops and 1,200 protected us from the crisis that we faced with this COVID-19 pandemic. Because of my local store, I have managed to support my community by providing what is necessary for these families so that they do not travel to the city and risk infection.
It is important to me as a beneficiary that through my results I can continue to support other low-income families in my community. Many women here still need their own land to produce their food. Right now, they plant with landowners and the produce must be shared.
With Advance I know we will continue to make right these gender inequalities. I thank Advance and the donors who are focused on the basic needs of families and providing technical assistance which makes these amazing results possible.
In this community, 11 women have benefited from funding for the purchase of half a block of land each, totaling $10,000.
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