Creating Her Own Sweet Place in the Job Market
A third of Honduras’ population faces underemployment, materializing in both insufficient job vacancies and underuse of skills. Even for those who have been able to obtain a high school degree, higher skilled labor is unavailable, especially for women. Girls who thrive in the classroom and dream of careers often end up without secure work. One woman who has overcome this obstacle is 31-year-old Adelante entrepreneur, Kenia.
Kenia has always had the drive to succeed. Finally she has the opportunity to kickstart a business she loves. In high school Kenia studied tourism and hospitality, and was proud to receive her diploma and high academic achievement. However, when she entered the job market there was nothing open for her. She was bright, enthusiastic, and talented, but the positions she was ready to fill simply did not exist. Disheartened, she was left to find a new plan to support herself.
Though disappointed, Kenia did not let her economic situation deter her. She began making earrings and bracelets to sell in the market. Then, two years ago, Kenia used her love of baking to start selling small batches of donuts, or donas as we say here in Honduras. Her husband, who works at the city port loading cargo onto ships, began to help her with deliveries. Since his work is just four days a week, he used his free days to dedicate himself to Kenia and the donuts. He has grown a little panza, or belly, showing his love of her baking.
Now her donuts have also become quite a hit with her friends and neighbors in her community, and she always runs out. She showed me one of the plates that had emptied within the hour after making her donuts, and only one remained.
“I like interacting with people,” she says. Her favorite moment is when the donuts are freshly made and she can see the mouths of her customers watering before they take their first bite. Kenia is warm and welcoming, and enjoys having people in her cozy home. Her neighbors have spread the word of their positive experiences with her and her business.
Along with her sweet treats, Kenia recently started to sell lunches, and was looking for a way to purchase more ingredients to expand. Then her neighbor, Norma, told her about Adelante. Kenia knew this would be the ticket to make her business succeed.
Last month she attended her first Adelante assembly, and then took out her first loan for $143. She confidently outlined her expenses and financing plan with her credit officer, using the skills she gained from the lesson to calculate her investments.
Her children, Bryan and Samantha, are now in grade school. She also cares for her baby niece, Sasha, pictured above. When the time comes, Kenia says she will encourage them all to follow their passions and do what they love, but remember to be open to opportunity.
Although the jobs she had initially envisioned were not there, Kenia used the interpersonal and marketing skills she learned to become her own boss. She knows she will continue to be a role model for her children and community as she expands upon her business endeavors. Inspired by the chance she has taken, Kenia can at last fulfill her potential. Success is so sweet!