At the age of 15, Linda Flores became a mother. She began making tortillas by hand and selling them to earn money to care for her child. Linda worked seven days a week, waking up at 4 a.m. and laboring all day at the stove top to make 500 tortillas a day.
She and her husband had two more sons, but could not afford a bigger house. Linda, her husband, and three children slept in a single room that doubled as a living room and kitchen. The walls were made of tin and the floors of dirt.
Two years ago, Linda discovered Pro Mujer. She used her first loan of US$40 to buy corn flour. She attended workshops on business skills and learned to make smart entrepreneurial decisions. Today, she makes over 1,300 tortillas each day.
With her earnings and her savings, Linda expanded her house. She built concrete walls, added bedrooms and put in a brick floor. Her children Julio, 16, Enoc, 14, and Cristhiam,10, have enough to eat.
Linda believes she has grown as a person, as a woman and as a leader. She is president of her communal bank. Linda also helps train other women about early detection of cervical and uterine cancer. She has dedicated her life to her family and to making sure other women enjoy the opportunities she had.
On January 25th, Linda Flores will travel to The Hague to address the Radio Netherland Worldwide event on microfinance. The event takes a critical look at microfinance, and asks the question, “who profits?”
Linda is the only microentrepreneur attending the event. Watch a short clip of Linda’s video at her home in Leon and read the reporter’s commentary.
Princess Maxima of the Netherlands will do the opening speech and the key note speaker will be the Dutch Minister for Development Cooperation, Mr. Bert Koenders. The event will be streamed live in English and Spanish.