Bolivia – December 21 2022

A mother works every day to reach her goals

Gloria* smiles all the time. She sells vegetables to earn a living, but aspires one day to become an event planner and have her own bakery. But before that she had to take a difficult decision to start over.

For Gloria, 39, the decision to leave her husband was not easy, but was rather something she felt she had to do.

"I decided to separate because we did not live a good life,” she says. “We began to fight all the time, to shout at each other, so I decided to be strong and say: I can do it alone, for my daughters and to not have consequences later on."

Gloria emigrated to Chile with her husband and daughters. She had an office job as a vehicle importer, she was good at her job, but one day she realized that the tranquillity of her daughters was worth more than everything. She currently sells vegetables, cleans houses, and has also started a cake business.

“I always like to find a way to earn a living,” she says.

According to the latest studies, five out of 10 women in Bolivia suffer some kind of violence. Bolivian law classifies gender violence in 16 types: physical, femicide, psychological, economic, sexual, among others. For many of those women, is very difficult to take the decision of leaving their partners and change their situation. This is sometimes influenced by culture and society.

“I used to think, what is my family going to say if I separate? Now, I think it was the best decision for us. I was feeling down sometimes but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.”

These traditional ideas were not the exception in Gloria’s case. Her family disagreed with her decision to leave her partner.

“My mom is a little more conservative because she was raised that way. She used to say, ‘if you get together with a person, it's forever. Why are you separating from your partner’”?

But Gloria knew that she no matter how difficult it was, she would pull through.

“It was quite difficult, it was a tough decision, it cost me a lot, I used to cry at first, I thought it was my fault, but then I said to myself: things happen for a reason, I will get over this even if it difficult. I've overcome it... I'm fine now. I look after myself, for my daughters and I have the goal of always moving ahead every day more and more to reach my goal.”

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Gloria found the support she needed at SOS Children's Villages. They helped her with courses and training to become an entrepreneur. She also received psychological support from the Family Strengthen Program.

“They asked me what I wanted to study and what I liked. Since I like crafts and working with my hands, my advisor suggested I take an event planning class or hospitality management.”

Today, thanks to her effort, Gloria has changed her doubts about dreams. Among other things, she dreams of having her own bakery, raising her daughters, and seeing them as professionals one day.

“To have health and life until they are professionals, that is my goal,” she says. “My dream is for them to have a profession. Through my business, I aim one day to have my own home, my house, or my land.”

She leaves behind her fears and with a strong will, nothing is impossible.

*Names changed to protect privacy