Kolping empowers women

Kolping enables women worldwide to obtain further skills and earn a living by providing them with training and microcredits. Kolping helps women to lead a life in dignity through “empowerment”: education, training, support to become self-sufficient. For Vilma Limanchi from Bolivia, life has taken a turn for the better – thanks to Kolping:

Vilma Limanchi is 46 years old and a single mother of four children. The eldest has moved out and started her own family. With her three younger children, Vilma lives in a 30-square-metre two-room flat that cannot be heated despite the cold temperatures in the Bolivian city of Potosí, which is located at an altitude of over 4,000 metres. They share one bathroom with other families living in the apartment building.

Although her living conditions are extremely hard, Vilma manages to send all her children to university. This is possible only because of the help she receives from Kolping. Vilma has been a Kolping member for 15 years. In workshops run by her local Kolping Family she learned something that will give her children a chance for a better future: She makes tablecloths, placemats and pillows that match the season. To do this, she has set up a tiny workshop in her tiny kitchen. A fabric cover – homemade, of course – protects her most precious possession: a sewing machine. She was able to buy it with a microcredit granted by Kolping. Once a year, she also borrows around 700 euros from Kolping to buy a year’s supply of fabrics, paints and brushes in the capital La Paz.

At sales fairs organized by Kolping, she was able to make her products known and build up a customer base. She is particularly busy in the run-up to Christmas and she is glad that her teacher has new designs ready every year in the workshops. On average, she earns the equivalent of 250 euros a month. This is not a high income even in Bolivia, but because she lives frugally and plans well, her children do not have to work, but can study. “This would not be possible without Kolping’s support. If I hadn’t learned this trade there, I would have had to clean or do the laundry for other people. Then my children would have had to leave school a long time ago to help make a living. Kolping is the opportunity of a lifetime and gives my whole family the chance to develop further.“
Text: Katharina Nickoleit