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Baking a New Future for Her Family

Altagracia Rodriguez, has a baking business out of her kitchen in the Dominican Republic.
Photo: ©2009 Heidi Isaza/World Vision

This month our country of focus is the Dominican Republic, where World Vision and the Investment Fund for Enterprise (FIME) are working jointly toward their goal to help 4,917 microentrepreneurs in eight community development areas access credit for the first time. Over 60% of clients are female. The following story was contributed by Heidi Isaza, World Vision.

Altagracia Rodriguez, has a baking business out of her kitchen in the Dominican Republic. She is a mother of two. Her youngest son is just 9 years old. When he was young, she and her husband were struggling to make ends meet and she found herself faced with the need to find employment outside of the home.

When Altagracia worked outside of the home she was able to earn just 1,500 pesos per week, about $40.

“My life was more difficult because I had the boy and he was small and I had to leave him to go and work in the factory. What I was able to earn there [in the factory] wasn’t enough to pay for childcare for the boy, so I would leave him with an aunt of mine,” says Altagracia. “No mother wants to leave her child when they are sick, and he was sick a lot as a child,” remembers Altagracia.

When her son was enrolled in the sponsorship program, the World Vision staff invited Altagracia to participate in a job-skills training class. There, not only did she learn the very practical skill of baking, she also learned to be a business woman—to have her own business, know what to charge for her product to be able to have a profit, and how to dream big.

“World Vision opened my eyes,” says Altagracia.

She says that she never thought of herself as a business woman, but less than a year after taking the course, she has a successful baking business running, right out of her kitchen.

“Today, I make the pastries two times a week and I sell them to 15 different [small] grocery stores in the neighborhood, and I make 1,500 pesos ($40) every time I bake,” she says—twice what she was earning and she is able to stay home and take care of her child.

But, Altagracia is still not satisfied. Currently, she is branching out and offering a new product—cakes for events, like birthday parties and weddings.

Her dream is to be able to have her own café someday where she will not only bake bread and pastries but will also sell food, like pizza.

“I am very thankful for the help of World Vision,” She says. “Without them, I would be where I am today.”

Altagracia is in the process of joining a group so that she can apply for a loan through the local chapter of World Vision’s microfinance institution, FIME.

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