11 November 2020 - Bolivia

Sewing Success: Jesica’s Story

Jesica, 15, young entrepreneur from Bolivia

Jesica, 15, young entrepreneur from Bolivia

Meet Jesica, the 15-year-old high school student and entrepreneur from Bolivia.

A year ago, Jesica participated in Save the Children’s ‘Adolescent Protagonists of Development’ project, as her family was experiencing financial hardship.

Jesica explains: “We needed income, and the project seemed like a great opportunity to learn. I did not know how to work, but I learned to be an entrepreneur.”

Her business consists of making quilts. “I enjoy learning how to make them. I found it easy to sew, but the difficult thing is to get the clients,” says Jesica.

As well as training participants in the skills needed to run a business, the project supports adolescents like Jesica to look for potential clients and provides them with what they need for their business to remain stable. The project has been welcomed by locals and other businesses in the area, though it can be difficult to find buyers.

Jesica also has the support of her family, especially her mother Filomena, who helps her make the quilts.

“Before, I didn't have a way to generate income,” explains Filomena. “I couldn't work. Now I can work, thanks to Save the Children buying us a machine.”

The business has enabled Jesica and her family to generate income and work together. “It helped me improve my income and that helps in my life,” says Jesica. “Before I had no experience, and now I have formed my own business. I know how to get clients and do something that I enjoy.

Jesica, 15, and her mother Filomena
Jesica, 15, and her mother Filomena

Despite a promising start, just when business started to pick up, the coronavirus pandemic hit Bolivia. Jesica’s sales fell and the family’s income stopped.

The quarantine affected me because the stores to which I sold no longer opened. I could not go out and there were no sales,” said Jesica.

But Jesica didn’t let the pandemic stop her. A new opportunity arose for the family to produce mattresses for the COVID-19 isolation centre of the Municipal Government of La Paz.

Jesica explains: “Save the Children has helped me a lot with the project, because they guided us from scratch. We have their constant support. Even when I finished the training, they bought us threads, the sewing machine, the fabrics and all the materials. Now we can sell and make new products”.

Jesica’s future plans are to have more capital for her business, to have a physical store to offer the products and to be professional and to be able to travel.

Her mother Filomena aims to provide better living conditions for her children.

Even in the face of a global pandemic, Jesica was able to adapt her business and continue to generate income, showing her strength and resilience.

Learn more about how we’re supporting children and their families to survive the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, including our Save our Education campaign.

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