Dulce Viridiana Marquez Sosa

Dulce was a GROW scholar who graduated from the University of Colima with a degree in graphic design in 2015.  As the fourth of six children, she grew up in poverty.  Her father owned a butcher shop and her mother took care of the children. In 2000 Dulce’s father left, forcing her mother to work in a small store to provide for the family. Her mother remarried a field worker in 2010.

Unlike the rest of her family, Dulce went to college and developed a career. Her younger sister is a hair stylist and her other siblings are field workers.  Dulce went to work after she graduated in her chosen field, where she learned about advertising, packaging, design companies, suppliers, customers and how to run a company in general.  She first ventured into entrepreneurship by opening a design firm with a friend, but the partnership dissolved in eight months.

For a time, Dulce spent her mornings working with a company and her free time working with many of her own clients from home. When she lost the morning job and had a child, she decided to rethink her goals in accordance with motherhood.  She returned to her family’s home in the small town of Cerro de Ortega and found an opportunity to start a business.  With many contacts, no graphic design or printing competition nearby, and a space to locate her business temporarily, she decided to open a studio and print shop in the center of town. 

Dulce is now prospering with a house of her own, a community that supports her, and a store front for her business.  Today she has a portfolio of clients from many areas around the state of Colima as well as in Michoacan.  She receives more work through referrals from satisfied clients and has strengthened and expanded her business with a loan from GROW.

Dulce is a proud working mother, steadily moving ahead with her goals.  She is now confident that with hard work and perseverance, anything can be achieved. Life has surprised her in many ways, but all have made her a stronger person.

You can check out her business here:

Alejandra de Jesus Nicolas Garcia

Alejandra was one of the first GROW university graduates, earning a degree in International Relations in 2012. Today, at 29, she is living independently and is part of the internal audit team for one of the largest supermarket chains in Mexico, in charge of the northwestern region from Michoacán to Tijuana.
The oldest of five children, Alejandra was the first in her family to go to university. Her mother works part time running the breakfast room at the primary school in Cerro de Ortega, a small town in Colima. Her father is a bricklayer and painter. Because of her example and GROW’s help, one of Alejandra’s three brothers has completed his university degree in engineering. As for her other siblings, one has completed high school and the other is currently attending.

Always interested in improving her opportunities in the workplace, she is continuing her studies to get a second degree in public accounting and finance at the Technological University of Mexico. Her goal is to become a CPA and specialize in auditing.

Alejandra, cognizant of the opportunities she has been given, has helped herself and her family rise from poverty. She has developed self-confidence and fulfillment that she never dreamed were possible.

Healthy Homes

Prior to COVID-19, good handwashing habits were quietly saving lives and preventing illness. It is estimated that proper handwashing with soap and water reduces global diarrhea related deaths by 50%.

In 2019, 2,576 participants, including children, youth leaders and adults, enrolled in the Children International Healthy Homes program in Guayaquil, Ecuador, supported by GROW. They learned about safe water storage and proper handwashing techniques that are extremely important in today’s world. 85% of these enrollees completed the program.

175 volunteers recruited and trained new families that had never participated in the program. These volunteers were responsible for replicating the techniques they had learned during training sessions for other families in their communities. Amid social distancing, this information is now being shared via videos created by staff and youth health leaders.

The result of the 2019 program is that 98% of the households now have soap and water in a handwashing station that is available to all family members. 96% of the families now use soap and water for handwashing, compared with only 8% prior to the introduction of the program. 91% of the participants learned the critical times for handwashing, including before eating, after using the toilet, after outside play and after handling garbage. 89% agreed that their water at home needed to be treated to be potable, a major problem in poverty stricken rural areas.

Healthy Homes with contributions from the GROW program is creating a healthier population, leading to a better quality of life for these rural communities of Ecuador.