Women entrepreneurship and healing in Paraguay

This is a unique opportunity to create, socialize and teamwork, which help each of us to see the capacities that we have. Thanks to entrepreneurship we can have new possibilities against needs

Mónica Liliana is one of the participants in our Inditex-supported project “Vocational schools to improve employability and labor market insertion in Paraguay”, aimed mainly at women, mothers of the students of the San Vicente De Paul School of Fe y Alegría, located in the city of Capiatá. A large part of the population of this locality lives in a situation of vulnerability and unsatisfied basic needs. Many of them work in sporadic jobs such as street markets, with the consequent economic instability that this entails. In addition, the area is heavily affected by abundant flooding due to rainfall, which makes families very exposed to different risks in terms of health and protection. The community where the school is located also experiences high levels of insecurity and addictions are a strong threat to youth.

In such a challenging context, the project focuses on expanding women’s possibilities for entrepreneurship and access to employment through a job training program for the acquisition of specific and general skills in technical trades with proven demand, as in the case of fabric manufacturing. Between 2020 and 2022, 920 women like Monica Liliana have received close support that has allowed them to improve these skills and improve their income alternatives.

Women in this area are less likely than men to have access to productive resources and receive less credit due to their limited access to property and other assets, so learning skills that facilitate entrepreneurship is an ideal way to transform their lives. As Monica says: “It is a unique opportunity to create, socialize, work as a team, which helps each of us to see the capabilities we have. Entrepreneurship helps us to see the new possibilities that present themselves in the face of needs.”

“For me, the programme is like therapy, time flies with things that make you happy.”

In addition to learning different tailoring skills, thanks to Fe y Alegría’s entrepreneurship courses, the people who participate in this workshop develop social skills derived from teamwork, fostering collective recognition and helping to value and develop joint learning from which everyone can contribute and learn from those next to them.

Monica faces a very special situation: she is the mother of a child who was recently diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. She explains how, before starting the course, she spent most of her time and effort caring for her son, which severely limited her time. Thanks to the entrepreneurship training she has received, Monica feels she is doing something productive and enjoyable, while her son is receiving optimal treatment, care and education.

This center does positive things to me and my child, before this i was everytime taking care of him

With projects like this one, we see that it is vitally important for mothers to have opportunities like those offered by Fe y Alegría’s courses, where they have a space to get away from their routine, a time to forget about their obligations and can share a time to interact with people and learn. As Monica says, in terms of mental health, being able to feel fulfilled in the workshop can have therapeutic purposes, beyond the help it provides financially and in terms of the future.

The “Vocational Schools for the improvement of employability and job placement” project was carried out between 2020 and 2022, within the framework of the three-year program Educate People Generate Opportunities III, a result of the partnership between Entreculturas and Inditex, which globally impacted more than 231,115 people. Of these, 19,000 women participated in projects aimed at improving employability and access to employment.

This course does positive things to this population to foment entrepreneurship and for women. Is fulfilled that you can do new things. To change the future, the first of all is to change yourself.