Meet the amazing entrepreneurs creating Opportunity for themselves, their families and their communities.
Sorany Garcia grew up facing the many challenges that young people in southern Bogota do – including significant material poverty. And like many girls in her community, she found herself pregnant at 16 and dropped out of school.
Walking into José Mana’s three-story bakery, you are greeted with the smell of cakes baking and dough mixing. Cakes line the tables and women and men busily swarm around frosting and packaging and carrying supplies.
Elisa’s small stall in the local market hosts a refrigerated case for soda and shelves lined with home and cooking supplies. But the true focus of the shop is on the low counter that extends around the store, filled with heaping baskets of rice, peanuts and grain.
Today, Dora Osorio serves as the President of her Opportunity Trust Group in El Barrio Recuerdo. She sells products from catalogs and in the afternoons, mans her own snack shop on the corner where she prepares arepas – a local Colombian treat.
From the outside, FAC-Padaria LDA looks fairly nondescript. The white walls of the street-side building bear only the name of the bakery, painted in light blue. But go to the back door, and you quickly realize that FAC-Padaria is anything but small and simple.
For 18 years, Aurelia worked at a commercial bank. She was let go at the age of 45 when the branch where she worked was closed, so 8 years ago, she decided to open a small school. Even when she was a banker, she had a passion for teaching.
Denis serves as the president of her Trust Group and leads 21 other women in accessing loans from Opportunity to grow their businesses. Denis has used her own loans to grow her store on wheels – a cart she takes around the neighborhood selling food.
In Nubia’s small neighborhood of Verbenal Sur, people look for whatever work they can get. Given the economic and social challenges that face the entire town, Nubia was excited to get a job as a satellite employee of a gift bag company when she was 15 years old.
Benvinda’s little shop stands out, blue and shiny, among a sea of red-painted walls. She sells wholesale bath and body products to vendors in the area, and last year, she started working as a representative for MPesa, the local mobile money provider.
At first glance, Uile looks like any other vendor on the crowded, busy streets of Maputo. He walks around, talking to prospective customers, showing off the bouquets of fresh flowers that sit in buckets on the sidewalk. But Uile is not just any vendor.
Weaving through the dark, dusty corridors of the market, people bump and trip and shout about the latest deal they have available. “Aggressive.” That’s how they describe the market culture. For Armando, this market is all that he knows. It’s home.
Mary Mapepa’s greatest dream is to leave a legacy. After her parents separated when she was a child, she was forced to drop out of school in seventh grade because her family could no longer afford school fees.
When you walk through Rosa’s neighborhood in Barranquilla, Colombia the ground gives a little bit beneath your feet. It’s unsteady. It’s because the entire town is built on a landfill that used to be a mangrove. And it’s built on a landfill without drainage.
When you ask Samora why he wanted to start an English school, he responds, “I fell in love with the language. This has been my dream since I was a child.” At the beginning, Samora had about 10 students, but before long, word spread about his high-quality classes.
When Maria looks around her neighborhood, she sees immeasurable challenges. Set high atop a mountain in the south of Bogota, Verbenal Sur is windy and cold, difficult to get to and difficult to get around.
All Martin has ever known is a life of farming. From a young age, he grew rice on a small plot near his home outside of Morogoro, Tanzania. He relied upon sporadic rainfall to water his crops, and harvested as much as he could to feed his family and sell in the local market.
Winding up the spiraling ramps of the Ilala Market in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania you walk right into Jastin’s calendar and poster shop. A lifelong entrepreneur, Jastin began his career selling clothing along the side of the road, but his income was unstable.
Wang Hong never imagined that she would be managing her own business, let alone a factory, after losing her job during a restructuring at a grain management office in China that left her and so many other women without a source of income.