Weaving a New Future

Written by
FH staff writer
Published on
January 31, 2022 at 3:16:00 PM PST January 31, 2022 at 3:16:00 PM PSTst, January 31, 2022 at 3:16:00 PM PST

"Since I have been part of the FH groups I feel very happy. On many occasions I have felt that things do not go the way I wanted, but everything is possible when you put your plans in the hands of God." — Feliciana

Do you remember your childhood dreams? Did you want to be an astronaut? A firefighter? A teacher? An artist?

Feliciana, a mother of three from Acul, Guatemala, remembers her childhood dream. She always wanted to be an entrepreneur, experiencing the thrill of being her own boss and starting her own business. From a young age, she learned how to weave and embroider güipiles, traditional blouses. She knew that this could be a perfect business, but her lack of confidence held her back. 

After she got married, life continued to get in the way. It takes money to start a business, and that was money that Feliciana and her husband just didn’t have. With three kids and only her husband’s job as a day labourer to sustain them, the purse strings were tight. Putting food on the table, as well as making sure the kids had school uniforms and books, needed to come first. Feliciana put her dreams aside to focus on her family.

Still, she began to pray for God to provide another source of income, one that would keep their family from always living day-to-day and maybe even provide a little extra. 

When Feliciana heard about a Food for the Hungry (FH) Savings and Loans group in her community, she was curious. She and her husband had never really understood how they should save money, which led to many of their struggles. Ready to make a change, Feliciana started attending meetings. 

“When I started my participation in the saving groups that FH organized in my community, I learned the importance of saving. That is why I am very happy to be part of the savings groups. It allows me to get many ideas for growth!” — Feliciana.

As Feliciana grew more confident in her moneysense and began saving with her community, her life-long hope of starting a business began to stir again. Here was a way that she could make her dreams come true and support her family! It was the answer to the very prayer she had been praying.

Eager to learn as much as she could, Feliciana attended FH trainings centered around business entrepreneurship, and as many other workshops as she could manage, gathering the skills to start her own clothing business. But her savings group did more than just help equip Feliciana with financial sense and business strategy. The trainings also helped Feliciana confront the fear that had ruled her adult life, giving her the confidence to take a leap of faith and chase her dream. 

“Thanks to FH, I was able to learn to make decisions and improve my personal life, when I began my participation in the groups I learned about new topics that helped me to start my business and improve well-being to my family”

Now, Feliciana runs a successful clothing shop, selling beautiful güipiles (traditional blouses) and traditional belts! She’s an equal contributor to her family’s income and her business has even allowed an extra opportunity to connect with her two daughters. Juana Maritza and Magdalena Maria help their mom out with the shop after school. They’re learning how to knit and embroider as they help craft beautiful clothing for their community. 

But Feliciana has taken her dreams of being a successful entrepreneur to the next level. She is her savings group’s representative to Women for Sustainable Development (does that name sound familiar? That’s because we profiled this incredible group of women here and even made a video about them here!). This experience has allowed Feliciana to work as a team with other women to achieve incredible things in the community, including building a road to a community greenhouse and advocating to community leaders. Together with the other women in this economic platform, they’re making strides to empower women across Acul and demonstrate that childhood dreams don’t just have to be dreams after all. They can actually come true.

"Thanks to FH for forming the savings groups in my community because through it I was able to strengthen my knowledge and accomplish my dream of making a great business come true.”

This story is only possible because Canadians like you support start-up materials, agri-business training, and leadership coaching! Thank you!

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