Now I value myself because I don’t depend on anyone

Mariana says her life changed forever when she joined the Haciendo Camino NGO in Santiago de Compostela, Argentina. She began by learning to sew and is now in charge of teaching young parents how to nurture their children

I always wanted to study but my economic circumstances prevented me from finishing my university qualifications. I got to the age of 41 and felt I had no chance of getting a proper job to help support my family of six children, who were then aged between seven and 19.

My husband Ramón was struggling to bring in enough money, so I was looking for new skills to learn when a friend told me about the NGO Haciendo Camino.
I just wanted to learn to sew – I didn't imagine that my life was going to change forever. I started with the sewing workshop and loved it. Then I joined the cooking workshop and learned how to bake bread and pastries. This enabled me to teach my daughters at home and to start earning money by selling bread and pastries. 

After that, I joined the handicrafts workshop. Haciendo Camino also holds fairs where students can sell their handicrafts. The earnings from these fairs helped me to pay utility bills at home and to save up for new kitchen equipment. 

Haciendo Camino felt like an extended family for me and sometimes I stepped in for the teachers when they weren’t able to be there. But at home, we were still struggling to make ends meet and Ramon and I decided that I needed to find a steady job. 

I cried all night. But then the next day, when I arrived at Haciendo Camino, the director Natalia offered me a job as an educator on the Early Education at Home programme. I couldn't believe it. 

ETEC is a programme designed by Haciendo Camino and supported by The Human Safety Net. It helps more than 400 vulnerable families by promoting learning through play and at the same time strengthening the bond of parents and caregivers with the children.

I’m in charge of delivering the early stimulation materials to parents, who I also visit at home. I feel like a different woman. Now I value myself because I don't depend on anyone. I work!