Ruth Carolina is 18 years old and lives in the village of Los Copales in Nicaragua. Ruth has been interested in sewing since she was a little girl, so she decided to join the Raleigh ICS programme in the hope that she could create a successful business out of her love for sewing.
“I’ve liked sewing ever since I was a young girl, when I used to make hand-made clothes for my dolls. I have been inspired to join the ICS livelihoods programme because I want to design and make new clothes which I can sell. I also wanted to learn more about business.”
“Sewing is a useful skill for everyone and it is important in my community. There is no-one permanently sewing in my village, so this is a good time for me to develop my business.”
After realizing that there was a gap in the market for a sewing business in Los Copales, Ruth worked with Raleigh volunteers to develop her business plan.
“I really enjoyed learning about the Business Model Canvas because this can allow you to develop your business idea in a simple way. I also enjoyed pitching my business idea because this was an opportunity to show off all the work that I’ve done. It was fun playing games with the Raleigh volunteers and bonding with them as we worked together. On top of this I’ve loved doing presentations, attending the Business Fayre and the Community Action Days. I’ve learnt a lot.”
In conjunction with the ICS programme, Ruth has been taking part in a 6 month beginner’s course in sewing, sourced by project partner ‘INPRHU’.
“The course I am currently doing in Somoto has taught me a lot. I’ve learnt how to make skirts, shirts and types of seams. I’m going to attend other courses which will teach me how to make dresses for ladies. I’m also going to learn how to make suits and children’s uniforms. Learning about this will help me as I will be able to grow my range of products, and soon I will attract more attention by using different styles of fabric. Soon people will come to me because they know I can sew and make their clothes.
The course in Somoto has also been helpful in teaching me more about marketing my business and about the different activities I can do here in the community.”
In the future Ruth hopes to develop her business into something larger.
“I would like to offer new dresses, new skirts and new designs. I want to have lots of people coming to buy my products. I hope in the future to be able to employ a few people who would work with me to make clothes, especially someone with disabilities and less working opportunities. I want to train myself further and to learn how to make new designs so that I am always attracting new customers.”
Ruth’s journey as an entrepreneur is only just beginning and she is firmly on the road to success. She can take forward the skills and guidance she has gained from working with Raleigh volunteers to grow a sustainable micro-enterprise which will benefit not only her, but the community of Los Copales.