I am Maria Pacheco, 53, mother of 3, with a beautiful man by my side, I am a biologist and social entrepreneur.
Having grown up in war-torn Guatemala and being touched by the suffering of the people, especially rural women in remote villages of my country, I have always been looking for a way to ease the pain felt by my people. While war is brutal and devastating, I came to recognize that poverty is what grinds the life out of so many people. My journey has not been about charity but been about finding ways to connect these local communities to people to the marketplaces of the world. I founded the Wakami business model which is a system that allow uneducated and impoverished rural communities to discover their capacity to create businesses that sell to national and international clients. I was amazed by the transformative power of corporations and businesses when they gave these villages a chance, especially women! Women became empowered, their children became healthier and had a school education, homes became harmonic . . . villages started changing.
What I did not expect was that this connection would not only lead to the transformation of the villages . . . it would also lead to the transformation of people from the world connecting with them. The people from around the world who connect these communities come expecting to provide help and leave realizing they have been changed in very personal ways. The visits to the villages gave our partners two important things: a sense of perspective and a sense of purpose!!
I have seen people who make these connections being healed, recovering their own dreams, and rediscovering what truly makes them happy. . . they had a new sense of purpose, a new sense of hope.
During this journey, as I look back, I realize that there are 4 things key to the transformation we were seeing in our communities and in our partners from around the world:
- The power of Transforming. Healing came when people could express their wounds, their pain. In our communities it was often the pain of war and poverty. In our partners, it was when they were able to express their personal pain and struggles. For everyone, when there were others to listen to them, and to be there for them, healing happens.
- The power of dreaming. Many of the women in our communities had never been asked what their dreams were. Many of our partners had forgotten that they still could and should dream. When we all came around a table and drew and shared our dreams we found that personal ones became collective ones.
- The power of creating. The beauty of creating opportunities, busiensses, and income changes lives and creates connections that are deep and meaningful. When we started working to create opportunities for people’s dreams to become a reality, starting with the dreams of these rural women.
- The power of working together. When we realized that individual dreams are strong, but collective dreams are unstoppable.
This journey now takes me into a new one. As of today, I start a program called LIFE BY DESIGN! I will write more soon about our next steps.
Photo by: Julie Afflerbaugh