We first met Carmen 4 years ago, when she was 13 and participating in WJI’s Adolescent Girls Program in her community, Xetzitzí. After graduating from the program, Carmen had to drop out of school, as her family did not have the money to pay for her tuition or daily transportation from her rural community. As a result, Carmen only finished sixth grade.
Nevertheless, Carmen gained confidence in our program and learned that women have the right to work. Drawing on this, she and her sister eventually bought a grill and rented a space in their village where they set up a shop selling tortillas, as well as beauty and hygiene products. Together, they achieved economic independence.
Their business was steadily growing, until the COVID-19 pandemic made sales plummet.
Undaunted, Carmen came up with an idea: she and her sister would deliver tortillas to homes during the quarantine. The girls teamed up with a motorcycle owner who would be responsible for delivering the products in exchange for a commission. The business began to thrive again and the girls can’t wait for it to expand.
Five years ago, when she was 15, Blanca participated in WJI’s Adolescent Girls Program. She enjoyed it so much that she returned to WJI the following year to partake in the Women’s Rights Education Program.
Inspired by WJI, Blanca decided not to marry at an early age and to instead stay in school. She studied on the weekends and interned with WJI during the week. After years of hard work, she graduated in 2018 as a bilingual secretary! Blanca is proud of achieving her goal and positive about the future.
We are inspired by Carmen and Blanca and proud of all they have accomplished despite the challenges that they faced. We hope to continue motivating young women and girls to stand up for their rights and to follow their dreams.