Grateful for a Chance to Give Back
Her family once suffered from hunger. Now this entrepreneur creates healthy food access in her community…
Francisca, an entrepreneur from a small village outside of Tela has a new vision: to improve her community’s health through access to nutritious foods. Growing up, Francisca always had a giving spirit, but never a glimpse of opportunity. Her family was devastatingly poor, and Francisca and her siblings were lucky to get a pair of worn, hand-me-down shoes. On the rare occasion when she was able to get her hands on a pair, she would make sure to take turns wearing them with her younger sister, even if they were not quite the same size. Their family ate corn, beans, and tortillas, although some days there were only a few tortillas to go around, and Francisca was always first to share her portion. Instead of staying in school she started working at age twelve, helping her grandmother plant and sell corn to help feed the family.
When Francisca had her own children, she fought for them to have a better life, always ensuring they had their own shoes and stayed in school. It was never easy, and often she went hungry to sacrifice her meals for them. She longed for a way to earn a stable living and to escape hunger. Then her chance came. Five years ago, Francisca joined Adelante with a loan of $91 to start a jewelry business. Francisca slowly began to see her earnings grow, all the while gaining confidence in herself and her business management skills through the Adelante education program. In one of the lessons she learned about product diversification, and she examined the demands in her community to increase her earnings further. She invested in plastics, and then other household items.
Francisca, always thinking of her family’s food security, bought seeds to grow corn, using the techniques that her grandmother taught her as a girl. Soon she learned how to grow papaya, lemons, and cacao, too. Adelante home improvement and business loans have given Francisca the opportunity to put in a real bathroom for her family and grow her earnings immensely. With her education lessons, she has flourished as a savvy businesswoman. Now on an average Saturday this time of year, she can bring in up to three or four hundred dollars. She invests her earnings back into the business and into her children, all of whom have been able to continue their education thanks to her hard work. Her youngest son, Oscar, who Francisca adopted at four years old, is now in fourth grade and dreams of becoming a teacher.
Francisca upholds sincere gratitude for her opportunities to improve her and her family’s well-being, and now is determined to give back.
A major issue her village faces is that it is a food desert- meaning affordable and healthy food is difficult, at times impossible, to access. A truck that sells fruits and vegetables comes by only once a week. There are no fresh food markets where she lives, and the only consistently available items at local convenience stores are chips, sodas, dried goods, and fried foods. Although Francisca has been able to keep her own family healthy through her subsistence farming, much of the rest of her village does not have the resources to do so.
Now she and her sister are taking action, starting a fruit and vegetable business through the earnings from her jewelry business. They will sell the fruits she has grown from her home and transport other fresh produce from the city center market. She plans to offer a variety of choices at an affordable price. “We need to look out for each other’s health. I want to help people eat well, and see their families thrive,” Francisca says.
We at Adelante are in turn grateful to Francisca for making her community a better place, along with the thousands of other entrepreneurial women across Honduras who are steadfastly fighting for a better future for their nation.