By Laura Hopps
The Micro-Business Start-up and Administration course is taught by Laydia Bermúdez, who has six years of experience training people in how to manage their small businesses. In addition to teaching administrative skills and planning techniques, Laydia incorporates lessons on self-esteem and violence prevention into each class. “Many women live violent home lives because they depend on their husband for income completely and have very low self-esteem,” she said. “When women become independent financially, they are more able to leave abusive relationships and reclaim their human rights.” Laydia recognizes that aiding people to improve their economic situation can help them to be healthier emotionally and psychologically.
Small businesses are often run out of people’s houses in the community, and can be helpful especially for those who are home raising children or are interesting in providing services to their local community. Joseline Rojas, 26, has studied International Cooking, Pastry-making, and Cake Decorating for 3 years at the Center. She has found the Micro-Business class useful so far because “it teaches you to plan, to figure out how much you will need to invest and how much your profit will be. Laydia also helps us with self-esteem, to know that we have rights and should be treated with dignity.” She hopes to start her small business selling cakes and other gods from her home.
Most women in the Micro-Business and Administration class have taken courses previously at the Center such as: Cooking, Cake Decorating, Pastry-making, Natural Medicine, and Sewing. The women all noted that they are learning practical skills they will use to start their own small business, and that the formation part of the class—discussions about self-esteem, violence, and human rights—is crucial for their personal growth.