We are Family Through Thick and Thin
I came to Quito 20 years ago after being married for only a few weeks. We came to Quito with the clothes on our backs and money enough for one hearty meal. My husband found work as a shoe maker where he became an expert some years later. He opened a shoe shop and things were looking great! We had 20 employees and were making a sizeable income, we were able to save most of it because we were having so much success. I had always liked sewing but I never thought that there would come a time that I would need to use my talent. Shortly thereafter Ecuador suffered a financial crisis that crippled our family and the country. Several banks closed their doors and our savings vanished. Our once successful business began to die because our clients could no longer afford our services. We were forced to let go of our employees which was an extremely painful experience. They had become like family to us and had helped us reach great heights. We barely stayed afloat by working odd jobs.
A few years later, my sewing talent would need to be taken advantage of to get my family off the ground. Luis saved money for several years to buy me two sewing machines. I started working on small projects until I felt comfortable as a seamstress. I went to work at a small sewing shop and the small amount of money that I made I saved to buy more sewing machines. My kids were growing up now and were able to help me keep track of our money so that I could leave the sewing shop and start my own. I taught my daughters how to sew and now we all work together in a family sewing business. After a little while I was able to buy chickens for my sons to take care of, this turned out to be a success and now we have fresh eggs and chicken meat.
At this time my husband and I began attending Interweave Solutions meetings and we are learning to use our little resources to continue to grow our sewing business, improve our home, and our community.
Carcelen has 32 members and is growing rapidly. Last month 10 new members came to join them. Currently 20 of its members are running businesses and are happy to learning how to become self-reliant.