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Building a brighter future in Bogota, ColombiaSorany Garcia

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. Her family told her that she had to move out, and she didn’t know what her next steps would be.

But Sorany had dreams that she didn’t want to let go, and she and her boyfriend Andres refused to let their pregnancy hinder their future. Two years ago, the pair welcomed a beautiful baby girl - their daughter Helen Sofia. They received a small wooden house from a national relief organization, and the new family moved in near Sorany’s mother’s home. Unfortunately, the home was drafty and cold, and before long, Helen started getting sick. In order to build a better home, Sorany knew that both she and Andres would need to get to work.

Little by little, Sorany started doing the hair and nails of her neighbors. She learned as she went, becoming a talented stylist and getting hired to do hair for special occasions – especially first communions. And she mastered her favorite hairstyle – the waterfall braid. She and Andres saved their earnings and began to build a new home in El Barrio Recurdo, a mountain neighborhood in southern Bogota.

A year ago, a friend told her about Opportunity International and she joined her local Trust Group. She received a loan to purchase a flat iron, empowering her to provide additional services to her clients. And in addition to loans, Sorany also received training and a valuable community of friends to support and encourage her as she grew her business and raised her daughter. Through it all, she and Andres fought for their relationship and got married, supporting their daughter together.

From working with Opportunity, Sorany has learned that all of her dreams are possible. She plans to continue studying and finish her high school education, and then learn to be an aesthetician. She knows that the future is still uncertain, but she is confident that she will learn the skills she needs to succeed. She is proud that she didn’t let her circumstances define her – and she is so proud to be raising her daughter well.

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