© Courtesy of Children Believe
“My life and that of my grandmother changed after I received the seed capital to start my own business,” he says. “(Without it) I might have had to migrate to Costa Rica to find work.”
The 21-year-old Nicaraguan stands out for his originality, wearing stylish clothes he modifies and makes himself. It’s one outward sign of how he is blazing his own path in life, making a name for himself in clothing and fashion and achieving his dreams by starting his own business, he says.
It was all made possible thanks to his connection as a former sponsored child through Children Believe, which led him to become involved in a project called Preventing Irregular Child Migration in Central America (PICMCA). Hector received business training along with a group of his peers and seed funding for his entrepreneurial idea.
Today, thanks to his involvement in the project and starting his business, Hector has taken on the family’s household expenses and continues to improve himself, studying fashion design at
the National Technological Institute in Managua, Nicaragua.
A Children Believe project funded by the Government of Canada, PICMCA has helped thousands of youth like Hector in five countries overcome financial hardship and find ways to work in their home communities, rather than leave their country.
Hector and his siblings were raised by their grandmother in Las Torres, a Managua neighbourhood known to be among the capital’s most dangerous. However, the care and protection of Grandma were key to keeping the grandkids safe and in school. Another essential factor was Hector being a sponsored child by a Canadian donor through Children Believe. This made a big difference in helping Hector’s family overcome hardship and ensure the children received proper nutrition and access to education from a young age.
Before taking part in PICMCA, Hector explains, he had opportunities to work where he developed an interest in sewing and fashion. But he says the work often didn’t last long.
Lack of economic and employment opportunities; direct and indirect violence, especially gender violence; and a lack of spaces for youth to participate are among the three main causes of children and youth migrating irregularly. To foster a brighter future, the PICMCA project promoted equal opportunities, protection, employability, and participation.
In five years, Hector envisions having an established tailoring workshop, employing other young people and solidifying his career in fashion design.
“I have plans for my life, and the (PICMCA) project has made a huge contribution to my personal economy,” he says. “Now I have tools I would not have been able to obtain on my own. I am studying, because I can pay for my transportation and meet my needs; and I can help and be with my grandmother. I have the confidence that I can plan ahead and reach my goals, step by step.”
Hector symbolizes what PICMCA is all about: addressing issues such as lack of economic and employment opportunities; direct and indirect violence, especially gender violence; and the lack of spaces for youth to participate, which are the three main causes of irregular migration in the region.
Hector participated in the employability component of the project. His goal was to improve his skills to find a lasting job and gain work experience. This support was geared to young women and men at risk of irregular migration, to provide equal opportunities in income-generating activities.
Along with funding for the regional project from the Government of Canada, the project was led in Nicaragua by Children Believe and realized together with three partners: The International Organization for Migration, The Institute for Human Promotion, and EDUCO.
Children Believe hosted a virtual panel this week to explore the ongoing issue of irregular migration in Central America and Mexico. The success and methods of PICMCA were explored with experts in international development.
To become a child sponsor with Children Believe, or to watch the panel and learn more about how this Canadian charity works globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in—and be heard, visit childrenbelieve.ca
Children Believe supports children around the world to overcome barriers and access education so they can be a voice for change.