From Orphan to National Advocate for the Rights of Entrepreneurial Women
At the age of eleven Juana was orphaned and spent most of her childhood caring for her younger siblings. She worked during the day at a bakery to support her family and spent nights studying to be a medical assistant. Juana’s extended family did not approve of her studies and ambitions and refused to help with even basic housework.
Undeterred, Juana continued her studies and, after she married and had children, opened a small bakery in her home – but she says it was a lonely struggle.
Juana joined Chirapaq in 2008. There, she and other women in her community began a small business, raising and selling guinea pigs. Though it was difficult to gain the support of local government necessary to expand their business to new markets, Juana was eventually elected President of her cooperative and has since spoken at national conferences about her efforts.
Juana has even advocated nationally at the Ministry of Labor to expand the rights and opportunities of women entrepreneurs in her region.