POSTED November 21, 2019
Families that work together, stay together
Learn how a social-support program spurred lasting change for a young woman and her family
By Karla Ramírez, monitoring and evaluation officer, Nicaragua
Grayling Lanuza faced many challenges in her journey from an English student to an entrepreneur who dreams of becoming a recognized clothing designer.
Much of the journey began in 2014 when she joined a social-support project we launched (with Denmark’s BORNEfonden) to help 60 female and 40 male entrepreneurs in Estelí, Nicaragua. It was here Grayling expanded her understanding of business plans, finance, occupational health and safety, marketing, advertising and more. She was amazed by the confidence she developed.
Grayling applied those learnings to launch her business and put herself through school. And, those skills helped her thrive in 2016 when her husband abandoned their growing family, leaving her a single mom.
The tenacious entrepreneur didn’t give up, continuing to develop her business. Today, she employs her mom and sister, and supports her parents, siblings and son.
The 27-year-old even had support through the project to improvement her family home, building a wall to create an enclosed store space. These changes were especially meaningful since Grayling originally thought the state of her home and its location was affecting her success. In fact, some customers short-changed her, because they didn’t think it was right they had to travel so far for her clothing.
It was also difficult to convince people to take her seriously. In the beginning, they asked: “Did you, design this?, adding, “I don’t believe you.”
The young businesswoman worked hard to generate trust and built a network of loyal clients willing to travel far for her designs and even spread the word about her expertise. She complements that success by leveraging Facebook and WhatsApp ads to widen influence, a skillset she polished during the workshop.
So far, she’s participated in a local fashion show and is working toward launching a brand.
Grayling’s hard work and dedication is rubbing off on her mom and sister who may start their own business; her younger brother is eager to get involved, too. “Please tell me how to fix my clothes, because I want to be like you,” he tells her.
For Grayling, working with her family, and serving satisfied clients, is the most rewarding part of her success.
ABOUT CHILDREN BELIEVE (formerly Christian Children's Fund of Canada):
Children Believe works globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in — and be heard. For nearly 60 years, we’ve brought together brave young dreamers, caring supporters and partners, and unabashed idealists. Together, we’re driven by a common belief: creating access to education — inside and outside of classrooms — is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world.