“I would describe myself as an entrepreneurial woman, the outcome of tenacity.”
I have fallen and gotten back up and here I am. I have overcome my obstacles and my fears.
I was nine years old when the armed bandits got to the town I lived in. We were ordered to stay locked in our houses; we couldn’t be on the streets. People were being killed.
We had limited time before we would be killed or would have to leave. Where would an entire town go?
So we left with what we could carry in our hands. I told myself, I am going to find a home to live with my children. I had conviction even as we walked aimlessly.
We heard other displaced people were going to invade a vacant land and we joined them. I never fought for anything like I did for my little patch of land.
When I had my last child, my partner met another woman and left me alone with my five children. It hit me hard. I had nothing, but I did have experience. I knew how to make fried food.
I decided to start a business and I got a loan to start selling food. We had a group of women and we all had small business loans. If anyone in the group couldn’t pay their loan back, the rest us of would answer for the loan. And if we could not afford it, we would do activities.The people here are very close.
Opportunity* gave me a second loan and they increased the amount. I went shopping for appliances. I bought and sold them on a layaway, biweekly. And so on and on until I took out an even bigger loan. And eventually with the loans from Opportunity* I was able to make my home. A little concrete house for me and my children.
Sometimes women let themselves be humiliated because they think they can not go at it on their own. That they can not get ahead. I tell them no: no, that things are not so… That you can get by alone with your children without your husband. I’m an example of that, I’ve succeeded.
My children know that I am their father and their mother. And that I have been everything to them and that they have to succeed. I tell them to fight to have what they want like I’ve done with them.
I met Shirley before she worked for Opportunity* when she was a client of Opportunity*.
Sofia Vergara has impressed me a lot because she has helped people a lot. She has motivated, getting people to smile, to be happy. She is a fighter.
I would tell her to keep fighting for us women. That Colombians are worthy. We will thrive. With all the obstacles we’ve had, we will move ahead.
Opportunity* International is a microfinance partner of the Seven Bar Foundation.