Maria Ester Landa is a jet engine welder, the 2006 "Miss Micro-Entrepreneur" of Lima, Peru and was one of 31 women entrepreneurs from around the world chosen to participate in a Fortune 500 mentoring program. Visit http://www.care.org/ to learn more and find out how you can get involved.
While still in high school, Maria and her sister, Elvira, took a welding class sponsored by CARE. They liked it so much that they were inspired to take additional CARE offerings on technical and business skills. As the only female welders on their side of town, the two caused quite a stir!
When Maria decided to start her own welding business, she was turned down for a traditional bank loan. They said she was too young and had no collateral. But CARE believed in Maria and granted her loan through one of our microfinance programs. She repaid the loan, in full, in just one year. Today, Maria owns three successful businesses.
When a devastating earthquake hit Peru last year and left 40,000 homeless, CARE called on Maria and her sister to weld tent frames for earthquake survivors in need of shelter. They also made 100 classroom-sized tents so that children could resume their studies.
Winner of CAREs 2008 I Am Powerful Award, watch Maria describe how CARE helped her achieve her dream, and, in return, assisted CARE in responding to the humanitarian crisis that befell her community.