Rising above poverty in Honduras
"Big business people start little by little. I consider one of the advantages we have is that we learned from World Vision Honduras to value each other, to support each other,” says Hector.
Hector Ramirez built his own microenterprise to pull himself and his family out of poverty. After receiving training and support from World Vision, Hector started a family business growing and selling coffee. His coffee is now sold in three communities in Honduras and will soon expand into a further two.
This is his story.
My name is Héctor Ramírez and I’m currently 22. My parents are: María and Erlindo Ramírez and I have seven brothers and one sister.
I started working in agriculture when I was seven, and although the work was tiring, I did enjoy working with my brothers. We use to plant maize and beans and made around $1.50 a day to live off. We also had two dairy cows which we used for milk.
When I was 17 I began to question the overwhelming poverty my family lived in and began looking for ways to take my brothers out of it.
Five years ago, I enrolled in a World Vision project that helped to organise micro-enterprises, especially with adolescents and young people belonging to families living below the poverty line.
I joined with my friend Duvis, who is also a successful graduate of the project. It had three levels of training: 1) organisation 2) creation and strengthening of productive capacities 3) connection and access to markets. Over the two years of training I demonstrated I could acquire skills, undertake and access the market sustainably.
In December 2012, without knowing the direction my future would take, I went to work on the coffee farms in the West of Honduras and was amazed. At night I said to myself: "I want to have a farm like this".
I worked hard for 3 months and saved my salary as much as I could. At the end of the coffee season, I asked the owner of the farm to sell me coffee beans. I knew that those 50 plants would easily grow in the land where we lived. When I returned home to my family, I told them my plan to grow coffee and they agreed.
The next day, my father and brothers prepared the ground to plant the coffee and I continued to attend the training courses. We sold the cows and used the money to buy more coffee plants, which grew wonderfully on our three blocks of land.
In 2015 we had our first harvest of coffee and decided to roast it, grind it manually and pack it in plastic bags. I sold the basic product in plazas and markets. People bought it "like hot bread".
We started buying extra coffee from our neighbors, but it took us 6 hours to grind 50 pounds of coffee. Duvis, who graduated from another training project as a motorcycle mechanic and metal structures technician, built us a coffee grinder based on a gasoline engine because there is no electricity here.
My father, who had previously completed a tinplate course through World Vision, built an oven to toast the grain.
Our coffee brand was born: Café Yoreño. We sell it in packages of one pound and 28.4 grams for £1.3 each. We currently distribute up to 300 pounds of coffee a week in the local market. We make sure we maintain the strictest quality control in every stage of the Yoreño Coffee production process.
The time when my family and I ate corn tortilla with beans and salt is over. I like my job, I do not have a boss. My partners are my family.
I have also start studying at home and am currently studying the ninth grade. When I finish high school, I want to gain a bachelor's degree in Business Administration, so I know what I'm doing. I will then go on to study Industrial Engineering. Five years from now we will be better, because we are overcoming the poverty line. We want to have a big company and we will make it.
Hector was one of 12,000 people who were trained in entrepreneurship in the Latin American region. By raising the families' technical, social and economic capacities, our projects can also improve their whole communities' access to water, energy, health and nutrition.
Hector and his family continue to receive training and advise from us on the establishment of competitive and sustainable market links under a value chain approach, as well as partnership opportunities.
Find out more on how you can support our work in Honduras.