Meet Three Inspiring, Entrepreneurial Community Women Leaders in Latin America
Meet Dorcas Judith Bautista Sogamoso, Sinumar Foundation, Colombia
Dorcas is a community leader, singer-songwriter and an afro-indigenous social activist. She was born in San Bernardo del Viento, a town on the north coast of Colombia of the Caribbean. Dorcas grew up in a family rooted in fishing, the environment, and music. Her parents, both musicians and environmentalists, made their love for art, music, nature and community a major part of raising their family and home. Dorcas has grown to be a social justice leader and cultural activist with a focus on working with women, children, teenagers and young adults.
About Fundación Sinumar
Founded in 2015, Sinumar Foundation’s mission is establishing women leadership in San Bernardo del Viento. The Colombia-based 501(c)(3) Fundación Sinumar has impacted the community by serving:
- 1,200 annual beneficiaries to date
- 350 annual participants in Fundación Sinumar’s programs
- 26 volunteer leaders
Fundación Sinumar provides two key programs – Women Empowerment & Literacy and Environmental Awareness with a focus on developing their ability to read, write, and environmental awareness through experiential learning. Each program helps the participants understand their ancestral and cultural identity, creating strong community engagement and protection. They learn to conserve their land, wildlife and promote peace in their village.
The foundation’s women empowerment program is called Mujer Tierra that teaches the leadership skills of young women (ages of 14 and 28 years old) through environmental awareness activities. Women are taught their role as leaders, conservation practices and farming. Agriculture is taught in relation to personal growth through the sowing of the region’s plants. The women learn the knowledge of medicinal plants and preserve a long tradition, along with self-sustaining projects and tools to empower women towards self-care.
Meet Dunia Karina Padilla Gallegos, Creadoras, Perú
Dunia is the founder of Creadoras Foundation in Arequipa, Perú. Dunia earned her law degree from the Universidad Católica de Santa María in Arequipa, Perú. She works as a lawyer supporting entrepreneurship, women leadership, and social change programs. Dunia earned her master’s degree in corporate law at the Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas. She is an extrajudicial advisor recognized by the Ministry of Justice and is a professional life coach specializing in personal development.
Founded in 2016, Creadoras is a social enterprise in Arequipa, Perú. Creadoras provides educational workshops that develop the skills and abilities that foster an entrepreneurship mindset in women and girls. Creadoras’ mission is to propel the financial sustainability and security of women that live in underserved communities. Creadoras’ impact in the community is:
- 1,000 women have participated in Creadoras’ annual entrepreneurship forum
- 500 girls, teenagers, and women leaders have become a part of their network
- 60 entrepreneurship projects developed
- 50 positive impact projects executed
- 30 volunteer leaders
Creadoras provides four workshops: 1) Development of abilities and skills to nurture a women’s entrepreneurial spirit and mindset; 2) Mobilizing key stakeholders to promote collective leadership that generates a transformative impact in the community; 3) Training recently graduated college women to teach other women to become entrepreneurs and develop social projects; 4) Visualization of goals through the sharing of storytelling from successful women.
Visionaries & Doers by Creadoras
Creadoras’ programs consist of classes where real life challenges are addressed. The Visionaries Program is a leadership program for young women which helps them to better shape their analytical abilities and emotional intelligence by teaching them about transformative leadership and financial self-sustainability. The Doers Program is a women’s entrepreneurship program offering basic knowledge of business concepts, business plan development, and guidance in starting and growing small businesses.
Creadoras’ trainers are professional women leaders from all backgrounds and experiences. The trainers receive 30 hours of in-class intensive training on business competencies, entrepreneurship and leadership. After the program, each trainer is assigned to empower a group of women from an underserved community.
Meet Cinthya Flores, Utz Threads, Guatemala
Cinthya is a San Francisco Bay Area native with Mexican roots and a love for culture. She has a BA in Social Work and a Masters in Global Entrepreneurship, which is what led her to meet Guatemalan women late 2016. What started as a one-year business development contract became a long term commitment to see the women’s weaving cooperative grow. Cinthya started Utz Threads in order to stay connected to the cooperative and to create a space that allows for women to be the sheroes of their own stories. Utz Threads is a space for Latina women to change the salvage the complex narrative of their ancestors’ lives in relation to the artisan world and rather highlight the weavers strengths.
About Utz Threads
Utz Threads is a Latina owned textile brand that partners with weavers from the highlands of Guatemala to create everyday-use textile products. Utz means good in Maya Quiché, the language spoken by their women weavers in Chichicastenango, Guatemala. Through their products, the weavers are able to tell the story of their Mayan ancestors. Utz Threads works towards a world of fair trade that strengthens Guatemalan artisans and the US trade economy.
Utz Threads is inspired by the lively colors and cultural markets of the indigenous Quiché people. Becoming the connection to the ancestral weaving practices of this living culture and the modern trade world to create a space for women to tell their own empowering stories is the reason behind Utz Threads’ existence.
Emphasis on Relationship Building
Utz Threads envisions self-sustainability, growth and empowerment. They strive to see the women of the weaving cooperative gain financial independence with integrity and pride knowing that they’ve used their skills and knowledge to advance themselves. They also work towards creating a community of consumers that look to Utz Threads as a space to flex their buying power and learn about what great knowledge the Maya Quiche people have to offer. Their vision is to advance Guatemalan weaving partners towards economic empowerment, cultural exchange and reciprocity.
About Centro Foundation’s Global Women Leadership Program
The Centro Foundation was created to help advance and empower women leaders that create equity and social justice in underserved communities throughout the world. Centro Foundation’s Global Women Leadership Program focuses on the professional development of community-based women leaders that lead grass-root non-profits, associations, or social enterprises in Latin America. It provides grant funding and professional leadership programs to socio-economic initiatives that positively transform and empower underserved women and children in their communities. These women leaders have demonstrated how their proven programs create more equity, access to educational opportunities and entrepreneurship for the women they serve.
Women leaders in developing countries lack access to financial support, leadership development and professional networks. Non-profits, associations and social enterprises led by women can benefit more from professional training in leadership and management skills that can help them create more effective and impactful organizations. The Centro Foundation provides access to leadership training and grants to help empower women leaders and place them on the path to greater success and community impact.
Building Centro Foundation
Latina women leadership is critical to the socioeconomic development of communities in the United States and Latin America. By empowering women leaders, Centro Foundation looks to help improve the economic development in Latin America and create stronger leadership programs that empowers communities and preserves their culture.
As educated, ethical Latina women leaders, Centro Foundation has the social responsibility to assist the next generation of women leaders to provide them with the opportunity to develop themselves, improve their way of life, nurture their environment, and help their communities thrive. The Centro Foundation is a catalyst for the support, guidance, and love Latina women leaders need to build stronger communities and create a better world for the next generation.
“Our mission is to inspire, empower, and connect people to change their world”