Field Report: Thanks to you, Erma, Marisol & Genoveva are changing their lives.

women changing their lives

Women artisans are changing their lives.  Your gifts make it all possible.

This November, Artistri Sud delivered its largest 5-day intensive entrepreneurship boot camp ever, with 24 women coming from as far as 20 hours away to participate. As always in the Artistri Sud Social Entrepreneurship Training (ASSET), we spent the entire 5 days together in a remote area–this time, in the Araucania region–where the women had a chance to connect, learn and focus on building their entrepreneurial skills and their futures.

Five of last year’s top graduates also successfully completed Phase I of our pilot Train-the-Trainer program.  They received two days of intensive teacher-training, followed by five days in the ASSET program as hands-on trainees.

The training week is an emotional time: the women learn as much about themselves as about how to grow their small businesses. Many have never been away from their families before, and this time away with their peers and compañeras (‘fellow travellers’) is a time of discovery and growth.

To celebrate this holiday season, we want to share with you a few of the inspiring human stories which you made possible with your generosity.

Erma makes an inspiring discovery.

Make a difference by changing lives

Erma is a single mom and sole provider for her young son who’s still in elementary school. Last year, she earned $944—less than $4 a day. Erma desperately needed to develop her capacity to generate revenue. On Friday, in front of the entire group of 35 people (the largest number of people she’s ever spoken to!) Erma expressed her gratitude for the opportunity she’d been given to transform her life and her small business.

“From now on, I will share my personality with clients. I now know how to find them, to seek them out. When they give feedback on my work, I know how to take it.

“I’m realizing that you can learn from anything. I came here as a shy person with little self-confidence, wondering what I would be able to learn. But I now know that I can do anything I put my mind to. I thank everyone in Canada for this chance.”

Genoveva: now a teacher in her community.

help others who are changing their lives

Genoveva was a participant in our Train-the-trainer pilot program. She’s a grandmother who supports her daughter — a single mom.

Before doing the ASSET program last year, she was discouraged. “I did 3 fairs during the summer, and sold nothing at any of them,” she told us sadly. In the year since completing ASSET—during which time she was also a team leader in Artistri Sud’s coaching program—she doubled her income and became a weaving teacher.

“Friends,” she solemnly told the group. “For me, this program has been like a gift from God.”

Marisol: Multi-preneur and mayor


The women frequently take on roles of increasing responsibility and leadership after participating in the program. Marisol is a perfect example of this. In the year since the training, she took on new teaching challenges as a master weaver and expanded her other entrepreneurial ventures (she’s also a seamstress and sells secondhand clothing). In addition, she also led the drive to have her community formally recognized as a municipality–and then became its mayor. “Somebody had to do it,” she says modestly of this last accomplishment. In the last year, she has more than tripled her income, and no longer has to leave her family in her village to work as a maid in the nearby town of Temuco.

What’s next?

In the fall of 2017, we’ll be going back to Chile to continue the work we’ve begun with these indigenous artisans in rural areas. We’re in talks with potential partners in Latin America to see how we might work together. Our objective is that within the next two years, we’ll have our own graduates delivering the ASSET program on the ground themselves–with little intervention from Artistri Sud. This, we believe, is the key to sustainability. Then we will roll out the entrepreneurship program and the training model-for-sustainability in other countries where women are in need.

Your support of Artistri Sud this year has been critical to our success as we support these women who are changing their lives.

If you can make a donation during the month of December, we would really appreciate it! A better world is possible. Together, we can make it happen.

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