Rosa Chicas: “The home changed everything!”
Rosa is originally from Guajiniquil, a rural community in the municipality of Meanguera in the northwestern department of Morazán, El Salvador. In the early 1980s, when she was just a little girl, she fled with her family to Honduras to escape the violence of the civil war. When they returned, she had to leave home to work as a housekeeper to help support her family but did not let this keep her from continuing her education. She was able to complete a professional training as a hairdresser but never came to practice as she married young and started a home with her husband in his hometown of El Barrial. They were living in a one-room home made of tin, but that all changed when Habitat El Salvador entered her community with the holistic project Building Community with El Barrial. They applied for a home, and thanks to the support of various US affiliate partners, they were granted a partially-subsidized loan to build their house!
This home provided them more privacy and security, and their daughter was thrilled to finally have her own room. Also, because it provided a more hygienic environment, Rosa started a small store to provide more income for her family. She said that “The home changed everything!”
In 2015, the project expanded to include an income generation component through which $12,000 was distributed as seed money among 12 small business initiatives in the community. Rosa was one of the recipients of this seed money, which she invested in her store to diversify the products she offered. She purchased paper supplies for students, clothing, and a freezer where she could store meat (hot dogs primarily) and frozen treats, like chocolate covered bananas.
By re-investing profits from sales, Rosa has been able to improve their quality of life. She bought a water tank that allows her home to always have running water, without which they would only get it once every 4 days. She also took out an additional loan from Habitat to build a separate room at the back of her property to put the freezer and store the clothing for her business. She has an entrepreneurial spirit and has many dreams to continue to grow her business and improve her family´s livelihood.
And it all began with a house!