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Micaela | Guatemala

Micaela | Guatemala

Micaela from Guatemala

“I have faced diverse challenges in my life but I consider myself a strong person, able to face the challenges which have affected me. I always strive to move forward. I see each challenge as a new opportunity.”

Micaela with Multicolores' program in Guatemala

Micaela, 28, lives with her elderly mother and three brothers in the Lakeside community of Santiago Atitlán in the highlands of Guatemala. The local Maya dialect is T’zutujil. Micaela is an accomplished weaver and embroiderer; she is renowned for her technique, detail, and fine stitching. She describes herself as creative, responsible, kind and respectful, above all a person willing to explore new opportunities.

When Micaela dropped out of school at the age of 12, because her family was unable to afford the cost of her uniform, books and supplies, she thought that the opportunity to learn was lost to her. But in Multicolores, she found a way to continue learning. Micaela regularly participates in workshops in design, drawing, color theory, and new product development. As a group leader she enjoys sharing this new knowledge. It is important to her that all the women in her group have equal knowledge.

Micaela was the first artist chosen to participate in Multicolores’ Internship Program, ArtWorks. During three months, she learned about quality control, the marketing and sales of artisan products, and shipping processes. She also became adept at typing, computing, taking and editing product photographs, and creating word documents.

Of her experience, Micaela reflects, “by participating in Multicolores’ Programs I have new ideas, new knowledge in all aspects of my life. I have overcome the fear of expressing my ideas and points of view in public.”

Since joining Multicolores in 2018, Micaela’s embroidered story cloths have been exhibited in galleries in the United States and Guatemala. Micaela could never have imagined how far her artwork would go. Micaela is a story teller. In her artwork she is drawn to explore the many legends and stories told in her community, saying, “each of these legends reflects a cultural reality and is a way for me to express my own perspective on the stories we grew up with. In every piece I like to experiment with stitching and composition to inspire the curiosity of the viewer, drawing your attention down to the smallest details.”

With income from embroidery, Micaela helps support her family by paying the household’s expenses. One of Micaela’s goals is to learn English, the other is to continuing growing and exploring as an embroidery artist. She hopes to always be innovative in her designs.

Embroidery piece by Micaela, titled "Freedom"


Embroidery piece by Micaela, titled "The Legend of El Cadejo"

“The Legend of El Cadejo”

Embroidery piece by Micaela, titled "The Legend of the Sun"

“The Legend of the Sun”









Norah | Uganda

Norah | Uganda

Norah K. from Uganda

A story of resilience & perseverance

Norah K., 72, lives in Nyamirama subcounty in southwestern Uganda and is a member of the Kigarama Granny Group, coordinated and supported by WE grant partner, Nyaka. She operates a retail shop at Karonde Trading Centre and takes care of two grandchildren. The children belong to Norah’s daughter, who left them under their grandmother’s care after giving birth to them at an early age. Norah’s daily routine begins at 6AM with chores, after which she prepares pancakes and popcorn for sale. Norah also packs some pancakes and popcorn as a snack for school for her grandchildren. Through the pandemic, her snack sales fell due to school closures and an increase in competition.

Through her retail business, however, (which is supported by microloans from the granny group) Norah has been able to:

  • Start a poultry project in which she sells eggs and hens to supplement her shop sales
  • Pay casual laborers who work on her gardens
  • Be in a position to always restock her shop
  • Become more financially independent, not depending on her children for financial survival, while meeting her scholastic needs of her grandchildren.

In the future, she dreams of seeing her business grow and compete successfully with other retail shops in her trading center, starting a goat farm, and building a permanent structure for her shop, which she hopes will be her legacy. Women like Norah in Nyaka’s Grandmothers program face many challenges on a daily basis, experiencing poverty and extreme poverty, working to overcome their situations and gain their independence, send their grandchildren to school, and enable them to thrive. They are strong, resilient, and empowered, working to build a reality where they and their grandchildren can dream big and achieve their goals.

Thrive Causemetics Beauty/ Self-care Kit Packing Party

Thrive Causemetics Beauty/ Self-care Kit Packing Party

Thrive Causemetics + Women’s Empowerment International 

Thanks to a very generous donation from our friends at Thrive Causemetics and the efforts of 18 WE volunteers, we packed 300 beauty/self-care kits full of skincare and beauty products, along with notes of encouragement for women enrolled in our grant partner programs. We delivered the kits to three of our local partners for distribution to program participants in San Diego and Tijuana: International Rescue Committee in San Diego, Urban Corps of San Diego County, and Via International. Our mission in this project was to make sure all these women felt empowered, beautiful, seen, and appreciated. The kits will be distributed at holiday and other program events.

Below are photos of the volunteer packing party and our partner deliveries.

Via International

Urban Corps, San Diego County

IRC – San Diego Chapter

Carinne  |  Haiti

Carinne | Haiti

Carinne from Haiti

When a woman rises, the world changes

Since 1994, Carinne has owned a small but profitable clothing business, buying used clothes and then selling them in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. This business came to a halt when the devastating earthquake hit in 2010. In an instant, her life changed. She lost everything, and one of her sons was seriously injured. Seeking medical care, she had to travel across the border to the Dominican Republic. When Carinne and her family returned home to Haiti, Carinne was able to quickly adapt to her new environment, which motivated her husband and two sons to do the same. The eldest was able to complete his law studies and the youngest is in 8th grade – great accomplishments that can largely be attributed to Carinne’s ability to nurture her family even during the toughest of times. “I dream of seeing them in high-level positions in the country,” she says.

Thanks to a micro-loan she received through Fonkoze’s Solidarity program, Carinne was able to restart her clothing business in 2015. Her tenacity, leadership skills, and management style also earned her the peer-elected position of Center Chief among other Fonkoze lending clients in her Solidarity Center.

When given the opportunity to join Fonkoze’s social enterprise health program Boutik Sante, a WE-funded program, Carinne did not hesitate. Selling over-the-counter health products and providing health services such as malnutrition screenings to her community brings her joy. “Assisting the people of the village is second nature to me,” she explains. Carinne operates her boutik sante (community health store) from her home, which allows her the flexibility to run her clothing business on the side and earn extra income.

Since receiving her first loan from Fonkoze, things have progressively gotten better for Carinne and her family, and she is proud of her accomplishments. She is now trying to help the women in her community start their own businesses so that they, too, can have an opportunity to prosper with dignity.

In 2021 alone, 207 CHEs were trained to open a boutik sante. All across the country, new and continuing CHEs provided improved access to health services and education for 250,000 households in rural communities. Just like Carrine, they are increasing their personal revenue, while giving back to their community, and Carrine continues to amplify that across her region, leading other women to do the same.

Amparo  |  Honduras

Amparo | Honduras

Amparo from Honduras

Empowering and encouraging other women

Amparo has lived in the Brisas del Sur neighborhood of Honduras for 50 years and has been baking bread most of her life. She is a newer microloan client of Adelante Foundation, a WE-funded grant partner. She has had her own business for seven years after working for others in their bakeries. She started as a packer in a bakery, working her way up to top baker. After 11 years of working for others, she decided to work for herself and was able to open her own bakery in 2015. She was determined to take this step and moved forward, and the profits are now better for her because it’s her own – and better, she confidently states – product.

In her business, she gets help from her sons, who are bakers now, too, just like her, continuing the tradition and growing the business as a family one. She has also hired someone from the local community to sell their products in the markets.

She learned about Adelante from a friend, who also participates in the loan program. With her loans, Amparo was able to build the roof on her bakery and buy equipment for the bread production, which enabled her to produce quality products in greater quantity. They now make an assortment of delicious breads and baked goods.

Amparo’s story is one of growth, courage, and empowerment, and she believes other women can create that story of success for themselves, too. To encourage other women, Amparo says, “Yes, you can do it! Us women can do it! And, we can do it on our own. We can get ahead and move forward.”

Welcome Eugenia  |  Professional Fellows Program

Welcome Eugenia | Professional Fellows Program

Eugenia Mazurenko, CEO of the Zagoriy Foundation, a family foundation in Kyiv, Ukraine, comes to WE this October as a participant in the month-long Professional Fellows Program (PFP), sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and locally by the San Diego Diplomacy Council. Before the full-scale war in Ukraine, Eugenia lived in Bucha. Having now relocated to western Ukraine with her husband and daughter, she continues her important and impressive work at the foundation and leads a women’s support group for her former neighbors from Bucha. While here in San Diego, she will work on projects for WE in line with her expertise in philanthropy, grantmaking, and nonprofit management/capacity-building and her personal interests in women’s empowerment efforts. She also applied to PFP with a personal goal to raise awareness about the NGO sector in Ukraine and to connect international organizations with Ukrainian grassroots organizations.

Eugenia has more than 13 years of experience in the management of charitable foundations and non-governmental organizations. She is also host of the Podcast “Great Stories,” a columnist about charity on platfor.ma, liga.net, and nv.business, and an Executive MBA student at the Kyiv-Mohyla Business School. Prior to her work with the Zagoriy Foundation, she worked at NGO Forum, Danish Refugee Council, and Klitschko Foundation.    

Eugenia, welcome and thank you for your service with WE!

About the Zagoriy Foundation: 

Zagoriy Foundation is a private family foundation established in 2015. The foundation’s mission is to develop the culture of giving in Ukraine. They achieve this through grantmaking activities, conducting research, capacity-building for organizations, promoting institutional philanthropy, and developing the philanthropic community. Currently, their primary focus is on supporting grassroots community service organizations (CSOs) in Ukraine that help beneficiaries in times of war. This year, they’ve been validated by Charities Aid Foundation, and thanks to their network of partners in Ukraine and abroad have been able to scale activities to support nonprofits in Ukraine more effectively. Zagoriy Foundation is a member of WINGS, National Center for Family Philanthropy, Philea, and EVPA. 

Currently, Eugenia and the team at the foundation are working on a big project to create a mapping platform of previously verified organizations and foundations. This initiative aims to raise awareness of the sector and build trust in the NGO sector in Ukraine.

The foundation also conducts research projects, the latest report being on Charity in times of war. The study notes the growth in the scale of charity and its rapid development in Ukraine over the past year, the significant increase in involvement of Ukrainians in charity, and the increase of trust in charitable institutions.