Selva’s son Braulio has been sponsored through our CMAVIL site in Paraguay for 10 years. Sponsorship has been an immense blessing, but when Selva’s husband lost his job, the family’s financial situation became dire. Selva, eager to support her family, had the idea to start a small laundry business!
Laundry work is not regarded as a respectable job in her community, and Selva’s husband tried to persuade her to do something else. Selva, however, was determined she would be able to make her business idea work. When her daughter was let go from her job due to downsizing, the family put the severance pay towards their first industrial washing machine. They named their new small business “J&M Laundry”, after Joseph and Mary from the bible.
Over time, the family acquired more washing machines, and their small business started to grow. Selva spotted a second hand steam press for sale, and scooped it up, allowing them to provide a steaming service to their clients. She has since bought a brand new one to handle the increase in business, and mentions with a smile that it’s fully paid for.
When the business grew enough to buy a dryer, Selva’s client base expanded to the local hotel, with which she now has a substantial contract! Everyone in the family helps out with the laundry business. They wash and return most orders on the same day, doing all their deliveries by bicycle.
Our CMAVIL site hosted a workshop to teach families how to make their own laundry detergent and fabric softener, and Selva has only used her own homemade products ever since. “They’re superior because they have a nicer fragrance and are more effective,” Selva explains. There’s also a significant cost in savings. She can make a month’s supply for 60,000 guarani ($10 CAD) instead of buying through the store for 240,000 ($40 CAD).
Through Selva’s hard work, her family is economically self-sufficient. Two years ago, Selva was able to choose to retire Braulio from the sponsorship program so that another child could receive the benefit of sponsorship that she no longer needed. Braulio is now 20 years old, and is working in administration at an agricultural business. Selva is proud that she can now pay for her daughter to pursue a degree in Guarani language in university.
Selva is deeply grateful for the support of sponsorship for the past 10 years. Braulio had asthma, and in times of emergency, Selva always knew she could turn to the Sisters for help. The site staff were also always a great support for her fledgling business.
Many people ask Selva for advice on starting their own businesses. She is quick to tell them that she was helped by God, but is happy to show them around her business and offer ideas. She soon hopes to be able to hire a local mother as her first non-family employee!