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Pioneer Woman: Nicaraguan Artisan Finds Hope

What makes a woman a pioneer? Is it someone who changes the world or changes their world?

We believe it’s both.

When we think of the term “female pioneer,” familiar names like Susan B. Anthony, Marie Curie, Malala Yousafzai, or Greta Thunberg may come to mind. While these incredible women and girls have made great strides in changing our world, not all female pioneers are known globally.

In fact, in Food for the Hungry (FH) communities, we are often witness to the great changes made by trailblazing women all over the world. Women who work hard in the hardest of conditions. Women who are not recognized for their work, but do it for those they love. Though they are not in the global spotlight, they are just as courageous and inspiring as the women who grace the pages of prominent news articles and publications. And we are continually inspired by their strength, resilience, fortitude, and ingenuity.

Women like Alba.

A Lost Childhood

Alba is a wife, mother, and businesswoman in El Limonal, Nicaragua. Before FH arrived in El Limonal, the community was suffering. They faced high unemployment that led to looking for food and work in the local garbage dump. However, Alba’s own suffering began long before FH entered in her community. Like many impoverished children, Alba’s childhood was tragically cut short. She grew up without a mother and father and had to start working at a young age in order to support her grandparents. She cooked and cleaned every day, never having the luxury to play with other children her age. In fact, she was so busy working, she didn’t even notice when she turned 15 years old. It was a challenging life.

When she got older, Alba got married and had children, but still lived in poverty. She and her husband struggled to provide for their children. She dreamed of being able to stay at home to take care of her children, while still earning extra income to support her household.

FH staff member Lester Carrasco leads a craft making workshop.

Discovered Talent

FH staff member Lester Carrasco first met Alba during a home visit. Lester noticed the dire conditions of Alba’s home. She also noticed Alba’s perseverance, eagerness to work, and deep love for her family. At this time, Lester had been leading workshops in El Limonal on making crafts as part of a livelihood training that equipped mothers with skills to sell the crafts in local markets. She invited Alba to attend.

Alba immediately caught on and discovered she was a naturally talented craft maker. She worked easily and quickly and even had a knack for successfully selling her crafts at the market. She excitedly began her small entrepreneur business of making and selling crafts and soon had enough money to move her family into a new home. Her husband became so inspired that he decided to join Alba. She taught him how to make crafts and they began to work together.

Alba's hand crafted items

Nicaragua artisan handicrafts made from leaves

Nicaragua’s “Pioneer Woman”

And the best part of Alba’s new livelihood?

She finally realized her dream of being able to work and earn a good income, while staying at home and caring for her children at the same time. She even began cooking and selling homemade beans to families in her community. Her entrepreneurial spirit began to be a motivation to all. Her business, home, marriage, and children are now all thriving.

In her community, Alba has become known as Nicaragua’s “Pioneer Woman.” She is changing her world little by little as she continue to bring renewed hope into her life and the lives of others. Thank you for supporting women like Alba. She is one of many incredible women we are honored to work alongside all over the world. Give today to help others like her discover their God-given talents! 

Albas husband and children are now thriving due to her income-generation passion project!


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