Esperanza soaps
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Meet the Women

Soapmakers of Las Malvinas II


Esperanza Means Hope

Esperanza is an emerging social enterprise with the main purpose of creating jobs for low income families, especially women.  We create handmade, natural products that showcase the best of the Caribbean and the women that make them.

Our company, a for-profit business, goes the extra mile to provide meaningful employment to the women of Las Malvinas II. We provide training to each team member to become a soapmaker. We also placed our factory inside the community so they can be close to home and not have to commute. Our work hours accommodate their family responsibilities, and the women can earn shares in the company and become co-owners.

These jobs represent a true opportunity for women to invest in their families, especially in their kid’s health, nutrition and education. By empowering a woman, we hope to empower an entire family to life themselves out of poverty.

Esperanza Soaps is a project of Upward Ventures, a US-based organization dedicated to empowering families to rise from poverty through employment. Visit Upward Ventures' site here.

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MARTHA - Martha Evangelista Cordero

Martha was born in Cristo Rey, a crowded neighborhood of Santo Domingo. She lives with her husband Enrique and two of her kids, José and Crystal. She came to Las Malvinas looking for her own space and settled in the lower part of the community where the Esperanza Factory is located.

Martha used to work at a clothes factory but now she’s a stay-at-home mom. When Esperanza Soaps came to the neighborhood, Martha avidly learned how to make soap and became part of the Esperanza team.  “Making soap is not just a job; it also helps me clear my head and it gives me a sense of accomplishment.”

Martha wants to finish building her house and send her kids to college. “Working at Esperanza Soaps I can invest in what my kids need so they can be good people and get an education.”

 

JOCY - Joceline Ramirez

Joceline, or “Jocy”, grew up northern Santo Domingo and came to Las Malvinas II in 2007 with her husband Ismael. They have 4 kids, two boys and two girls, ages 8, 6, 3 and 1. Jocy heard of Esperanza Soaps through Martha and attended all the workshops, quickly learning all the details of soapmaking.

Jocy is a natural soapmaker and is our 'production supervisor' at Esperanza Soaps. She loves her job because “I work with people from my own community and I get along with them well.”

Esperanza is Jocy’s first job. She started a family at 17 and the this kept her from completing school or ever working. But Jocy dreams of becoming a nurse. During 2016-2017 she’ll finish the high school and then go to college. 

 

MINDRY - Josefina Luciano

Mindry grew up in different neighborhoods of Santo Domingo and moved to Las Malvinas when she was 15. Her parents moved to the community before there were services or roads, seeking their own piece of land where to build a house and not have to pay rent anymore. The 4th child of 6 sibling, Mindry is bright and hardworking and she finished high school at 17. She then started studying Initial Education at the University of Santo Domingo, the biggest public university of the country. She has worked at schools and other jobs to pay for college.

Mindry today is 24 and lives with her husband Daniel and baby Dariel in a small rented apartment. Soapmaking comes as a great alternative for her, as she can work and take care of her baby at the same time. Mindry is eager to graduate and work. “I want to help my mom finish her house and help send my younger siblings to college. I also want to move out of where I rent and be able to have my own place.”