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The Weekly Window: Learning the Art of Baking Empanadas


Crack the door into Yola's little home in Tarija, Bolivia, and you're likely to find her busy practicing the art of baking delicious stuffed bread, known in her country as empanadas.

Yola's first business involved selling raspadillas – cups of juice with real fruit and lots of shaved ice. Her business mainly served as a supplement to her husband's taxi service income. But then he left her, and, suddenly, selling shaved ice was not enough to keep her children in school and to put food on the table.

The young mother struggled to create enough income for her family until she met Victoria, a Christian micro-entrepreneur who took Yola under her wing and introduced her to Five Talents. The woman also helped to mentor Yola and encouraged her to start a business baking and selling empanadas during the cold winter months in Bolivia – when raspadillas were not in demand.

"I learned in the church workshops that it is important to plan and learn everything that I need to have a good winter business," said Yola.

With a $40 Five Talents loan, Yola purchased an oven, which she is now using to bake her first batches of empanadas. Victoria has also asked Yola to help her with her towel business.

"Victoria is teaching me many things about her business until I learn to make empanadas," said Yola. "She even took me on a business trip."

Check back next week to read more of Yola's story.

Click here to learn more about our program in Bolivia.