“We are empowered women”
[Andrea] “Josefina is an indigenous woman, originally from a town in Oaxaca. I met her on the street when she was selling hand-woven jute flowers with the help of her children. I immediately realized that her product was very good, but her desperate need to find money to feed her family prevented her from seeing its potential. She was very talented and I decided to help her find a solution”.
At the time I was living in a residence and the students were planning to go home to visit their moms, and even though they had little money to spend, they wanted to take them a gift. I suggested to Josefina that she make flowers for the students to buy on Mother's Day. Together we fixed a price, put a label on the flowers, and created a sales pitch.
This is how she began producing flowers with a price five times more than in the street. The demand was so high that Josefina had to ask her sisters to help make them, and so she became a team leader. The impact of economic independence on Josefina’s life was not only reflected by more income, but also by more and better food at home, and her children were able to start going to school. Josefina’s success made such an impression on Andrea that she decided to set up a social project aimed at women’s empowerment, which would be given the name of María Josefina Red de Emprendedoras.
If Andrea’s story moves us deeply, so does Micol Sevilla de Aquino’s. “I have always been a determined woman. Before becoming a ‘Josefina’ I had big dreams but I felt very alone. Now I feel more secure, appreciated and accompanied.” Micol told us that she is no longer afraid to offer what she knows how to do, that now she is setting bigger goals and says loudly and clearly: “I am an empowered woman”. A concept that she defines as “a woman who never gives up, who has dreams and who works to make them come true. And, above all, who can achieve what she sets out to do.” The key lies in education, she reminds us: “A good education is necessary so that ignorance is not a barrier. If I can give my daughters a good education, they will embrace the constant struggle to achieve their dreams”.
Andrea explains that when María Josefina started, the entrepreneurs said: “We are empowered women”. She was really impressed, but she was more surprised when she asked them what it meant to them to be “empowered” and the answer was that they did not know, but that “they heard it everywhere and it sounded good”. Since then, the goal of María Josefina Red de Emprendedoras is to ensure that there are no talented women living in conditions of poverty or violence, and to set up a great network of women who can help each other.