As we celebrate our Monday off for Labor Day, most of us don’t realize it’s a national holiday started by the labor movement to honor the achievements of working people with a much-needed day of rest. Our clients are some of the hardest-working people we know and so we wanted to take a moment to lift up just a few of them in honor of this U.S. holiday. Below, meet three resourceful, energetic entrepreneurs who are transforming their lives through Opportunity, ingenuity and very hard work. Have a happy Labor Day.
Concepcion has transformed her life and is thankful for the chance to make things better for her family. Now in her seventh loan cycle, she has gone from creating ceramic artwork alone in a small shop to employing seven other people to make pieces that she exports to Australia and the United States. The business training Concepcion received from Opportunity helped her make this change, and she believes in passing on her knowledge to help others in her community by giving them advice and support. Her three children are all in school, and her eldest will soon graduate from college with a degree in psychology. Concepcion uses her business profits to take care of her children and her parents, to continue growing her business, and to save for the future. Her next goal is to purchase a storefront so that she no longer has to rent her workspace. We’re proud to come alongside her to help her achieve her goals.
Silvia Elena Candu Casauovu
Carving ornate designs on jicaro gourds and transforming them into practical household items is a traditional pastime in the Rivas area of Nicaragua. Silvia has been learning the art since she was a child, and has used her skill to join a cooperative of 13 women in the Buenos Aires community outside of Rivas, Nicaragua, who all make jicaro gourd crafts to sell. Opportunity supports the cooperative of women through business development advice, product design support, financing and access to new markets to improve the selling power of their co-op. Through our distribution network, the women have gained access to international markets for their products and have achieved over $3,000 in new product sales in the last year alone. Silvia is enthusiastic about her work with Opportunity Nicaragua, saying, “Before Opportunity we were lost; we could make our products but not sell them. Now we are more organized, have regular buyers and have access to loans and training.”
With five children, Konstantin struggled to provide for his family once the factory he was working for closed. Konstantin became a carpenter, but without the funds to buy raw materials for larger orders, Konstantin’s business was just barely profitable. Konstantin received a first Opportunity loan of $253, which he used to purchase materials for larger projects. His business grew substantially, as did his savings account. Konstantin trained two of his older children to become successful carpenters, and together they now work to grow their business. Konstantin is grateful that the loans are helping him to be successful: “The loans from Opportunity have given me security and confidence.”