Nidia lives in a small village in Honduras called Colonia Fatima, outside the capital city of Tegucigalpa. Her business has been in operation for over eight years. Despite being battered by multiple natural disasters, Nidia has established herself as the model proprietor of a resilient flagship business in her neighbourhood.
Communities at risk
“A good tortilla depends on the quality of the corn,” says Nidia Martinez, owner of Tortillería Bertila. “I used to have one girl [working for me], but now I have four. They’re also enrolled in GOAL’s employment programme, where they are taught how to write resumes and run a business.”
Nidia received assistance under the Barrio Resiliente, or Resilient Neighbourhoods, project, which aims to mitigate the risks of unplanned urban expansion in Latin America. Many neighbourhoods in Honduras are informal settlements without access to basic infrastructure. These neighbourhoods are vulnerable to natural disasters, such as landslides or floods. The Barrio Resiliente project aims to help households and businesses in these neighbourhoods become more resilient to these crises. This is done through the provision of livelihoods support, to help raise households out of poverty, and by implementing early warning and response systems to help communities prepare for disasters.
Under the Barrio Resiliente project, Nidia received training in financial management and bookkeeping. “I used to keep everything in my memory, but I didn’t really know how much I was earning,” said Nidia. “Now, we can see that sales are increasing. It has been hard, but we didn’t give up. With the support that GOAL has given us, we continue to grow.”
GOAL supported Nidia’s business with tortilla production equipment and supplies, such as corn and a new handcart, to help her grow her profits. Now that her production is increasing, Nidia is looking forward to developing a brand for her business and raising her visibility. “With my new logo and slogan, I can make shirts and packaging bags. Our idea is to expand downtown,” she explained.
Preparing for crisis
The Barrio Resiliente project also facilitated Tortillería Bertila being provided with fire extinguishers by the local fire department and training on how to use them. Nidia was able to put her knowledge into practice right away and helped one of her neighbours extinguish a small fire in her home.
“The lady from the pulperia next door and I took our fire extinguishers and put out the fire, and when the firemen arrived, the fire was out,” she said proudly.
Nidia’s business was also integrated into early warning and action systems at the neighbourhood level. “At least 50 people every day come to my business and see the emergency alert board,” Nidia said. “I explain to them that the board lets us know what alert the neighbourhood is on, and what to do in case of an emergency. It’s important for neighbours to be informed so that we don’t suffer again the same way we did a few years ago [when hurricane Iota and Eta hit].”
Nidia is hoping to use her profits to expand Tortillería Bertila to create a new warehouse, in addition to a space for her employees’ children to play and read while they work.
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