Twenty years ago, Teresa Estrada got a loan from Pro Mujer. Today, her daughter, Maria Centeno, is a nurse, teaching Pro Mujer clients how to prevent disease and delivering primary healthcare at one of Pro Mujer’s clinics in Nicaragua. Teresa’s investment in her family truly improved life for the next generation.
An abusive husband and a life of extreme poverty had become too much for Teresa. She longed for independence, an income, and the chance to send her seven children to school. She joined Pro Mujer and used her first loan to start a business selling fruit juice in the street.
After years of suffering, Teresa finally gained the income and confidence she needed to leave her husband and create a new life for her family. She believed very strongly that education was the key to giving her children a chance to succeed. She sent all her children to school.
Maria, the second of seven children, applied to nursing school. She was accepted with a scholarship and became the first in her family to pursue a professional degree. Teresa’s dreams for her children were coming true.
After graduating from nursing school, Maria saw a job posting for a nurse (health educator) position at Pro Mujer in Nicaragua, which currently serves more than 27,000 women and their families. Excited about the chance to work for the same organization that she credits with helping her family escape poverty, Maria applied for the job.
Maria has been working for Pro Mujer for 6 years now. During loan repayment meetings, she educates women about sexual and reproductive health, nutrition, hygiene and other health topics. She helps deliver primary healthcare to women and their children at Pro Mujer’s health clinics. And she travels to remote, rural areas to give healthcare and health education to women who otherwise would have no access to these services.
As Maria expressed, “The women who Pro Mujer serves are just like my mother: women from low-income families, many of them suffering from domestic violence. I am committed to giving them the same opportunities my mother had to improve her life and ensure that their children have good health and access to education.”