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Forging her own path

POSTED July 4, 2023

Forging her own path

Entrepreneur Flor sets an example for breaking the cycle of poverty.

By Children Believe Nicaragua

Flor Avendaño is a shining example of what is possible when young women gain access to opportunities, and her story is a true testament to what can be achieved through hard work, determination and self-belief.

Flor’s health deteriorated after working grueling 12- hour shifts, six days a week, in a factory to fund her dream of graduating from university. She bravely decided to bet on herself and start her own business. Being her own boss has been liberating, but she says she couldn’t have done it without the help of Empuje, a youth employment project spearheaded by Children Believe.

“I was on Facebook and saw information about Empuje,” she explains. “I wanted to know about the project, so I signed up. I participated in many activities, attended all the workshops, and developed all of the life skills and training, including a marketing course for small businesses.

Through Empuje’s marketing lessons, Flor, now 27, gained the knowledge to launch Calza Cool, her own online style brand, with the tagline “Leave your mark with style.”

By selling personalized T-shirts through Facebook, she learned from customer trends and then incorporated sports shoe sales into her product mix to help Calza Cool expand and grow. She adds that negotiation skills gained from project training helped her with client and supplier relations.

Her successful business launch provided the income to cover her tuition and living costs. Better yet, she also had more time to study, enabling her to fulfill her dream of graduating with a degree in psychology last year.

Empuje, a five-year initiative focused on youth employability, is funded by Global Affairs Canada and implemented by Children Believe, which works with local partners. The program leverages technology, trades and technical vocational training to equip youth with business and life skills.

The project is part of Children Believe Nicaragua’s efforts to be a Center of Excellence in gender equality and economic empowerment of women and girls. The work helps reduce the gender gap to ensure equal opportunities for young women.

On this issue, Flor points to the continuous criticism that exists in Nicaragua related to societal expectations about the role of women. By dedicating her time to a business career, she said she and others like her face disapproval for prioritizing career over children and family. The training offered through Empuje, which has almost equal participation from males and females, breaks down negative stereotypes.

Flor writing in a notebookToday, I see myself differently, happy with all the projects that are coming my way and what the Empuje project platform made possible, where the gender gap had previously closed doors of opportunity,” adds Flor.

To read more inspiring stories like Flor’s check out the new edition of ChildVoice Spring/Summer 2023.  

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ABOUT CHILDREN BELIEVE:

Children Believe works globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in — and be heard. For 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.

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