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50 for 50: Where are They Now? Nicaragua Graduates

By Opportunity International

This is just the beginning—I have big dreams for the future.” 

In 2016, Opportunity International celebrated the graduation of Emprendedora Technical High School’s inaugural class. Founded in 2012 in Granada, Nicaragua, the school is an integral part of Opportunity’s larger Community Economic Development (CED) strategy—one of the many innovative programs Opportunity International has launched over our 50-year history.

With a unique curriculum that balances traditional high school learning with hands-on instruction in entrepreneurship, the school prepares students for leadership in the region’s fastest growing industries, including tourism and agriculture. By offering creative, practical education to the community’s youth, Emprendedora Technical High School facilitates the development of small and medium business enterprises, growing the local economy and providing stability to students and families.

To celebrate the fifth anniversary of the inaugural graduating class, we asked two of its students to fill us in on life after Emprendedora:

Meet Reyner Josue Morales Fletes

I’m 22 years old, and I currently live in Caña de Castilla Granada-Diriomo with my six family members. Every day, I get up very early, and I work from 7:30 a.m. until 9:00 p.m.

Thanks to all the training I received at the Emprendedora school, I was able to gain the confidence I needed to begin my professional journey. My favorite class was entrepreneurship, and one of the things I learned was how to be an entrepreneur by practicing how to learn, which turned out to be a key to my own motivation.

My family has also been so motivating for me. They have been an integral part in all areas of my growth.

While at the school, I also received my pre-professional training and a basic orientation to the working world. We started each morning with a devotional, spiritual values, and gratitude—so these were also fundamental parts of my training. Additionally, I witnessed Opportunity International’s commitment to supporting others and experienced all of our excellent teachers.

My dream while I was in school was to have my own business. During my internship at the Pacaya Lodge & Spa, I had the opportunity to work in all operational areas. I was motivated to learn which area was my strength, and I found it: My favorite area was the kitchen.

I decided to ask to extend my internship in the kitchen area of the hotel, and all of the staff welcomed me with enthusiasm and kindness. After some time, I qualified to work at Pacaya Lodge & Spa as part of the kitchen staff. While working at the hotel, I also completed my first year of college, but then things got complicated and I had to abandon my studies. However, after a year, I had the opportunity to start my own business from scratch.

Now, I use my love of the kitchen to run my own business. I have an ice cream shop that generates income for 12 people who work hard each day to take care of their families. 

This is just the beginning—I have big dreams for the future. I want to expand my business nationwide—and I want to study digital marketing so that I will have better tools to succeed in the business world.

Meet Yadder Augusto Padilla Gaitan

I’m a 2016 graduate of the Emprendedora school, and I live with my parents and four siblings. Both my mother and father work, and two of my siblings are also graduates of the Emprendedora school and are currently in college. Currently, I spend my time working and studying. 

My experience at the school was nice, and I am so grateful to my mom for managing to pay for the five years I was there. She also paid for both of my siblings’ years at the school. She has been a fighter and taken us forward.

While at Emprendedora, I made several friends, and I got along well with all my teachers. Throughout high school, I managed to acquire a lot of knowledge and values from the school, and my favorite classes were English and Physics. The main things that I learned as an entrepreneur were the practical values that we were taught to put into daily practice—things like how to be good people in our personal lives and work lives. 

When I was in my last year of high school, I was still not sure what I wanted to study because I liked many disciplines. When I left high school, I chose to study marketing because I felt like it aligned with my personality.

When I got out of high school, I had the opportunity to accept a job immediately, which was something new for me. I joined a company with more than 200 employees—and while there, I have grown professionally. I currently work for this company, and at the same time, I continue my university studies. My company gives me the opportunity to pursue my career while completing my degree. I am in my second year of college studying marketing. 

I moved to Managua in 2017 for work and university, paying for everything myself. My family lives in the Guapinol community, located in Diriomo, Granada.

When I started my job in December 2016, I began as an entry-level employee, but I have always been a proactive person willing to help, and they valued that. I earned a promotion 15 days after I entered. I worked in a sales room of the store for three months, and then they trained me to assist with billing. I was in this position for about eight months, then I moved to bidding, which is the department responsible for state purchases through processes and documents. Finally, I was transferred to the telemarketing department, where I worked for 3 years. In this role, I learned to work in sales, manage social media, and use chatbots. I was first an assistant and later became a supervisor where I was in charge of three people. It has been a very nice experience.

Just recently, I decided to resign from my job because I’m ready for something new—I have other life plans. It has been one of the biggest decisions I have made in my life. I will always be grateful to the company that gave me the opportunity to work with them; however, in life, we have to make the decisions that are best for us.

My biggest goal at the moment is to study and improve English. I hope that after six months of intensive study, I will be able to complete an English course and pursue a new job, maybe at a call center or another company. My other primary goal is to finish my marketing degree and graduate from college. 

Through it all, I have kept one mantra in mind: “All our dreams are possible.”       

Reyner and Yadder are two of the incredible young people who have graduated from the Emprendedora Technical High School in Nicaragua. You can experience this remarkable place for yourself on our Insight Trip to Nicaragua this November. Click here to learn more and register.

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