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A young woman

can create dreams

“I am achieving my economic independence, and for me, that is the same as achieving my dreams since that will give me some economic resources to fulfill my own needs as a woman”, Claudia said.

Claudia is a young indigenous woman of 24 years of age that currently lives in “Las Canoas” village, township of San Andrés Semetabaj, department of Sololá. Unlike many indigenous women, she had the opportunity to graduate high school with a diploma in Business Administration while living in a place where the opportunities are scarce. 

The lack of jobs and education have forced hundreds of young members of her community to migrate to other places, both within the country and overseas, but Claudia dreamed of putting her knowledge into practice in the place where she was born, so she joined various activities and developed leadership skills that today allow her to provide opportunities for growth for both herself and others. 

One of the activities she joined was the Commission for Women, which is part of the structure of the developmental community council of her village, where they promote actions in favor of women’s rights. Her participation has allowed her team members to feel supported to actively participate, and her leading skills at such a young age are a model to the other women.

She currently leads a group of women that works on various productive activities. “St. Michael the Archangel” (San Miguel Arcángel) is integrated by both men and women between fourteen and twenty-five years of age, that share the same dream as Claudia: To generate opportunities for their community.

They started the oyster mushroom production together, a food product of high nutritional value that is not foreign for Claudia, as her family had tried to produce it for sale a few years back. However, their lack of technical knowledge on mushrooms had generated losses, making them drop the initiative. 

Along with CARE and the Colectivo Poder y Desarrollo Local Association (CDPL, Collective power and local development) the young members received the technical training needed, allowing them to continue the production, reduce losses and position their product in the local market. Their efforts were supported by the Community Development Council (COCODE), which granted them a physical space for them to launch their business. 

Claudia is making her dreams come true in small dark rooms that function as the production center, while the initiative expands. The participants look to implement new production areas in their own homes to increase sales. They have already created their own brand and customized their packaging to promote it on digital media.