Martha's Story

Martha and daughters
Martha and her daughters Angie, Tatiana, and Yenis. 

Martha Lucía Londoño eyes light up every time she thinks of her three daughters, for they give her strength and motivation to create a new life. Martha is originally from San Rafael, a municipality located southeast of Antioquia, a region in Colombia whose fortune once depended on the exploitation of gold. Eventually, though, violence and criminals led to the displacement of many residents, including Martha. Fleeing the violence, Martha arrived seven years ago in Monteria, 275 miles and 11 hours away from her home in San Rafael. She thought she had found a safer life for her and her family, but the violence and injustice that affected thousands of Colombians in the early 2000s once again found its way to her doorstep. Her husband was killed, leaving her the sole provider for her three young daughters.

Left with few options, Martha worked two to three jobs a day to feed her children and pay for their education. Martha lived day by day, holding on to her dreams and coping by saying, “When something bad is happening, there is always tomorrow to makeit better. Tomorrow finally came one morning in 2013. Martha received a call from the Global Communities’ ANDA program. She was invited to participate in ANDA’s income generation and entrepreneurship project, which helps individuals like Martha understand their life difficulties, formulate a life plan and develop entrepreneurial skills. With ANDA’s training and coaching, Martha was able to create her own home-based linen store called Maty’s Creations, with the name Maty deriving from her and her daughters’ initials (Martha, Angie, Tatiana, and Yenis). In addition to earning a profit, the mission of Maty’s is to engage and empower people who have an interest in making a difference and advancing their dreams. Martha knows that capital is important for business momentum. She also knows, however, that positivity and confidence are what will make her business thrive. As this woman, who has endured so much, said, “Those who don’t believe in themselves will never achieve the dreams that they set out to accomplish.”

Martha is just one of the 400 people who have participated in ANDA’s income generation and entrepreneurship project. ANDA aims to reduce poverty and improve the quality of life for vulnerable populations, including internally displaced persons, in the Monteria and Cartagena municipalities of Colombia.