Edwin and his mother and father are all very proud of their family business

Twenty-one year-old CI graduate Edwin could have easily followed in his father Esteban’s footsteps.

Lacking formal training, Esteban began earning money as a child performing grueling manual labor on large farms in Guatemala. “The work was intense, under tough conditions, under the hot sun,” Esteban says. “I suffered thirst and hunger. The salary was always really low. We never got ahead.”

Toiling so hard for such little pay — with no end in sight — can be demoralizing. Esteban knew he didn’t want that for his five children, including Edwin.

An opportunity

Esteban and his wife, Marta, enrolled Edwin in CI’s program when he was 8 years old. The benefits he received to stay healthy and support his education were crucial to a family living on only $118 a month. But the benefit that truly gave Edwin an extra edge was CI’s Career Readiness program. Through it, the young man learned life skills that set him up for successful employment.

Edwin didn’t waste any time using his new knowledge. Within a year, he developed a business plan and started his own thriving business raising and selling chickens.

He chose poultry farming because he saw a need for it. “I thought about having a business to be able to provide something lacking in my community,” he explains. “There are no supermarkets nearby. I thought to myself, ‘I can raise chickens and sell them.’”

Motivation to keep moving forward

An unexpected benefit

Edwin’s family works together on the chicken business and is making real financial headway. But the business has done more than just provide necessities. It has become a source of purpose and self-worth for the entire family.

Edwin says, “With this project, I feel useful. I feel like I’m not the only one getting ahead. My whole family is getting ahead.”

His father agrees. “Before we had this business, we didn’t have much motivation to keep moving forward. Now we have a reason to fight on.”

Even Marta, who already contributed much to her family as a homemaker, feels self-actualized. “Now I’m involved in the business, too. Now I feel like I can help out economically, as well,” she says.

A plan to thrive

With the chicken business, Edwin and his parents are creating a new path for themselves.

“We’re taking advantage of this opportunity as a family. We’re all learning, and we’re all benefitting,” Marta adds.

And Edwin isn’t stopping there. He would like continue his education, studying animal husbandry at university.

“I feel thankful, and I also have a commitment to keep moving forward,” he explains.

With pride in his work and his family by his side, Edwin is no doubt on the right track.

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