Looking Forward to the Future in Colombia

For many people struggling to climb out of poverty, it’s the unplanned hardships that derail chances of success. But at FXB we’ve seen how, with the right resources, these hardships can be turned around. 

Otilia Perez Santiago was already living below the poverty line in Barranquilla, Colombia, when her husband abandoned the family. At the time, the youngest of Otilia’s five children was only two-years-old. The family lived in a one-room house of dirt and wood with no utilities or indoor plumbing, and because of its weak structure, the entire house flooded during rainstorms.

Already struggling to make ends meet, Otilia’s hardship was intensified due to an accident that resulted in brain damage and memory loss. However, her situation improved dramatically after she joined the FXBVillage program in Barranquilla. The resources that FXB immediately provided such as food, shelter support and healthcare eliminated some of the day-to-day stress Otilia carried as a single parent. And thanks to the business-training component of FXBVillage, she started selling candy and snacks, which soon expanded to meat and other goods. This new source of income allowed Otilia to afford a larger home built with more stable materials – a home with a separate kitchen and bathroom.

Otilia was not alone in her success. Many other families in the same FXBVillage program experienced similar outcomes. When the program ended in 2013, 90% of the FXBVillage families reached economic independence; 84% of them improved their housing conditions, allowing safer, healthier living.

Today, Otilia’s children are enrolled in school and paving a sustainable future for themselves by learning to read and write. Once overwhelmed with worry about meeting the most basic human needs for her family, Otilia now says she looks forward to the future and is hopeful for even greater opportunities.

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