As well as business training, Pro Mujer also held health workshops across the region. But, Rosa hadn’t give them much importance, until one day that all changed.
“During a Pro Mujer health campaign, I was diagnosed with advanced cancer” Rosa said. “I needed to have an operation immediately and it was going to cost £625. I stopped working thinking that it was all going to be quick, but it wasn’t. Thanks to the savings I built up over the years, I was able to cover my household expenses and part of my operation. Today, I feel good and I continue to do my health check-ups – more than anything for my children because they still need me.”
The obstacles Rosa faced are all too common for women in Latin America. Since 2009, we have been working with Pro Mujer, helping women like Rosa lift themselves and their families out of poverty, and giving them access to high-quality, low-cost healthcare, often for the first time.
Founded by two school teachers in 1990, Pro Mujer started out as a small project in El Alto, Bolivia offering women the chance to develop invaluable life skills in business, health and leadership. Since then, the non-profit development organisation has given more than £700 million pounds in small loans. It has also provided nearly 2 million women with vital access to financial services, preventative healthcare, and business and empowerment training. Today Pro Mujer works across five countries in the region.
Pro Mujer’s health services are focused on helping to detect and prevent chronic diseases such as breast and cervical cancers, diabetes and heart disease. In recent years, these diseases have become more common in Latin America and disproportionately affect the women that Pro Mujer serves.