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Cooking up success in Colombia

For people who live in Catherine’s community, the Bocaditos Boquilleros is the new hot spot in town. That’s the name of Catherine’s successful food stand, the business she opened after completing livelihood training and entrepreneurship programs with Plan International’s support.

Catherine runs her business with pride

Thanks to a fryer that she purchased with Plan’s assistance, Catherine’s is one of the few stalls in her area to offer freshly made food, giving her a strong competitive edge.

Among her wares, Catherine sells empanadas stuffed with cheese, chorizo sausage with arepa (a ground maize flatbread), and tostones, a delicious Latin American staple made of fried green plantain topped with garlic or hot sauce.

Catherine graduated from our program with a strong business plan she put together with Plan’s support – and lots of determination. A year and a half later, she has a thriving business and a devoted clientele.

“She’s an inspiration,” says Plan Canada’s Maria Paula, who visited Catherine and saw her growing enterprise.

“I was so impressed – not only with the food, which was delicious, but with her energy and dedication. She does everything by herself.”

Catherine offers a tasty menu

Indeed, Catherine even constructed her own food stall with wood she got from a local scrapyard. Constantly cleaning and sweeping to maintain an inviting environment, her pride of ownership is evident to everyone who passes by.

A wonderful testament to the life-changing power of our programs, Catherine is now a role model for girls and women in her community.

Reaching more girls and women like Catherine

With your support, livelihood training programs like the one that Catherine completed are among the many initiatives we have underway in Colombia to help young women break free of poverty by learning marketable skills so they can land a job or start their own small business.

Like Catherine, many of our program participants come from some of the poorest and most conflict-affected communities in this South American country, and it’s the first real chance they’ve had to change their lives for the better.

So far, hundreds have taken part in these livelihood programs, including:

  • 635 youth who have participated in technical training workshops on either jewellery-making, aesthetics, or cooking, along with classes to help them develop skills in job searching, business communications, teamwork and leadership
  • 315 youth and adults who took part in an intensive and wide-ranging program on small business essentials, including entrepreneurship, book keeping, and the basics of business plan development
  • 1,073 youth who received technical and financial support in income generation, sport or artistic initiatives
  • 56 youth who received financial support for post-secondary education in such areas as social work, agribusiness, early childhood education, computing and accounting.

Together we’re investing in the potential of young women in Colombia, fueling change to help them break the cycle of poverty and begin a cycle of progress.

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