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One Woman Transforms her Community in Colombia

By Opportunity International

Opportunity Colombia client Beduith María Henao Beltrán is a testament to the power of one woman to make a difference in the lives of many.

Beduith on one of the streets she improved with her Trust Group.In winter, Beduith’s street in the city of Barranquilla was clogged with mud and impassable, making life dangerous, unpleasant and inconvenient. This can also make it difficult for residents to get to their jobs and operate their businesses. As president of La Valle de Esperanza Trust Group, Beduith rallied the members to raise matching funds for the local mayor’s street paving project. Together, they sold soup, hosted bingo, ran a dance event and raised $7,200 for a new road that makes life easier, safer, cleaner and better for the entire neighborhood. Once shy and reserved, she now says, “I’ve been given the opportunity to grow, and to help others grow too.”

Beduith (left) and her Opportunity Colombia loan officer.A few years ago, Beduith got her first Opportunity International loan to expand her furniture repair shop, which she and her husband Moses Henao have operated out of their home for the past 17 years. The loans from Opportunity Colombia allowed them to buy the materials they need, and Opportunity financial training taught her how to manage her income and expenses to make the business even more profitable. With her increased income and financial security, Beduith was able to build a new home, send her children to school and even save some money for the future. Right now, the couple employs four people, but eventually Beduith wants to hire enough employees so that she and Moses can retire.

Beduith’s story is not unusual. When Opportunity’s women clients break out of the cycle of poverty, they get more than a steady income. They often find a hidden inner strength, contributing to the community, inspiring others and shaping day-to-day life. That’s the power of one. Invest in women like Beduith today »

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