International Women's Day: Colombia

28 February 2011

In southern Colombia, CAFOD partner Pastoral Social is working with small businesses, particularly those run by women to provide training in marketing and business skills, to improve financial management and to ultimately increase the income and improve the livelihoods of the members of the small businesses.

Through this programme, Bella who is partially blind has received support for her plastic bag making business. As well as training, encouragement and support, Bella’s business has also received the raw materials and resources it needs to grow.

“Our salaries began to improve, our spirits lifted. Glory to God, my life began to improve.”

Now Bella has also been able to return to school to study IT, English and Maths, although it’s not easy she perseveres as she knows these skills will benefit her business. The increased income enables Bella to provide better for her family and they have begun to make improvements to their home. The business also helps her to have more self-belief:

“I also changed as a person. I used to have very low self-esteem, I didn’t like to go out and be seen. I was made to feel a bit stupid which made my self esteem plummet even more. I felt like my life was worth little. Today, I feel 100 per cent new. I’ve had so much training and support. I’ve got a lot to be thankful for.”


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