• Lima
  • Area: Humanitarian aid

Start a business with a vocation of service

Natalia* was one of the winners of the contest “Mi pana, ¡emprende!” (“My friend, start a business!”) organized by Save the Children. This contest is part of the project “Assistance for the well-being and inclusion of migrant and refugee families in Peru” and offers seed capital (financial aid) to start or consolidate a business idea.

Four years ago, Natalia* came to Peru with her two children in search of new opportunities. As a single mother, and even though she is a preschool teacher, she took different jobs to earn an income. However, with the pandemic, the situation became complicated and she had to move to one of the poorest areas of Lima.

Because of the pandemic, I moved to another place, with limited resources, because we really had no way to pay the rent.

Winner of “Mi pana, ¡emprende!”

Thanks to a Venezuelan friend, Natalia* found out about Save the Children’s assistance to immigrants who, like her, were having difficulties. She was encouraged to fill out an online application and initiated contact with the organization that first provided her with monetary assistance. In turn, through a WhatsApp message, she was invited to participate in the contest “My friend, start a business!” and if she were the winner, it could lead to her starting her own business.

The young lady explained to me that first I had to take my course, learn how to do business (…) Thanks to you I was able to learn and after having completed my course, I received a call to find out what type of business I wanted to start. As I told them, I had initially talked about working with food, but I had already started this project here where I live.

At that time, without having a job, Natalia* had taken the initiative to help the children of her neighbors with virtual classes (distance education), this way generating some income. She noted that for many parents it was difficult or they lacked the time to assist their children with their homework. However, one of the difficulties she faced is that she did not have a computer or printer.

With the money I received as seed capital, I bought a computer, a printer, and a whiteboard (…) Also personal protective equipment, everything needed for the children to be safe.

With a second deposit of money, Natalia* bought school supplies that she sells since the area does not have nearby bookstores.

An effort that gives meaning to life

One of the most important things for Natalia* is realizing that this venture is more than a job. It is her way of making a change in her community and corresponds to her own vocation of service.

As a person, I feel as if I were at home in my country, because I know that I am well received by my neighbors. As a professional, I feel content to see that I can help children (…) because the job of a teacher is to transform lives. I want to think that when I am no longer here, in each part of the children’s cells there will be that information to transform, to change, to be better every day.

Even Natalia’s children have noticed the change in her and, without a doubt, being able to share with other children has also changed their lives.

My children feel happy, firstly because they know that I can help other children, they (also) like to share with other children, something they didn’t have in Venezuela, they had very few friends. Here, they already have a group of friends, they feel at home. They see that I’m different, they see that I’m happy, because I’m doing what I like, which is to help other people.

*The name has been changed according to our Safeguarding Policy.

About the project

The project “Assistance for the well-being and inclusion of migrant and refugee families in Peru” has been implemented by Save the Children with support from the USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA /USAID). This intervention aims to provide humanitarian assistance to Venezuelan families who were forced to leave their country due to the serious economic crisis. The cornerstones of the project are: protection through psychosocial support; nutrition and health; livelihoods through the strengthening of skills to start a business or access a job; as well as humanitarian aid to cover the family’s minimum expenses for food, shelter, and clothing.

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