Breaking down traditional obstacles  

Las EsperanzasLas Esperanzas, ‘The Hope’, is an all-women income-generating project, which is financed though The Hunger Project (THP)-Mexico’s partnership with Mexico’s Social Development Ministry (SEDESOL) Local Development Agency (LDA) programme.

The eight women of Las Esperanzas live in Atotonilco, an isolated community in Zacatecas, northern Mexico, where only 10 percent of women are involved in income-generating activities. Traditionally women in this region have no income and depend on the few dollars sent by their husbands working in the United States.

Las Esperanzas is led by: Rosario de la Rosa Rosales, 28; Elvira Chávez Domínguez, 65; María Engracia Cisneros Torres, 63; Mercedes Chávez Torres, 30; Amelia Cisneros Ramos, 54; Gloricela Ramos Cisneros, 38; Yolanda Chávez Ruiz, 46; and, Ermila Chávez Domínguez, 45.

With the help of THP-Mexico, these women created a vision for their community, one in which they could lead a good life with their families, and one in which their children would not have to migrate North. They realised that in order to achieve this they would need enough income to be self-sufficient.

Initially, the all-male local assembly refused to support their efforts. But these women persisted. Following several conversations, the assembly granted Las Esperanzas a piece of land for their proposed chicken farm.

By daring to seek local government alliance in the completion of their project, these women are breaking through many of the long-standing traditional patterns of doing business in the region.

After 12 months of facing many obstacles, including getting the land, financing the equipment and supplies, and undergoing skills training, they are producing 1,000 eggs daily and grossing $1,000 pesos (£50) every day in sales.

Their unconventional efforts have paid off and they are thriving. Nearby communities are eager to do business with them, buying their products because they are fresh and produced by women of the region.

New plans for Las Esperanzas, with the support of THP-Mexico, include fixing the road to speed up shipping time for supplies and products, installing a telephone network to receive orders, furthering their computer skills through training, and improving management and marketing.

For their peers in the community, these women are an example of perseverance and entrepreneurial spirit and are encouraging other women and men to consider the possibility of creating their own visions and projects.

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