Featured Alumni Entrepreneur: Katherine Najera ’14

image2De Manos Con Amor, which means From Hands with Love, is a 501(c)(3) not for profit that empowers women and girls in Central America to break the cycle of poverty. The organization was founded in April 2016 and officially launched on June 7, 2016, but Katherine Najera has wanted to do this for years. She spent her childhood traveling to visit her mother’s home country of Honduras. Every time she visited she was shocked by the conditions in which people lived. The fact that she had so many opportunities while so many do not really impacted her. She wanted to do something, she had to do something.

Najera decided that the company would target women entrepreneurs and students, because she believes that helping them will have a ripple effect on the countries in which they live. Children are the future and require sufficient education so they can make better decisions and take better actions for themselves and their families. Women who have small businesses significantly help the economy by employing local families, creating a local circulation of money and encouraging other businesses in the area. It has been proven that these demographics will have the largest impact on countries, which will result in decreasing the amount of people living in poverty.

De Manos Con Amor empowers these demographics by purchasing handmade products sold by small business owners in Central America at market price. The company specifically looks to empower women who are trying to create a better life for themselves by supporting their business and promoting their self-reliance with every product purchased. All profits are then donated directly to a public school in Central America to provide utensils, learning materials and help with repairs–things the students desperately need. By providing the school with necessary funds, De Manos Con Amor helps create a learning environment where students and teachers can thrive. With the gift of knowledge, these girls will be able to empower themselves, their families and friends to break the cycle of poverty.

The first school being helped is Centro de Educacion Basica Manuel Bonilla located in Olancho, Honduras. The school’s roof is falling down and needs to be repaired as soon as possible; otherwise more than 600 at-risk students will be without a school. De Manos Con Amor is working to raise $5,000 to fund the new roof. Every $5 means 1 foot of zinc metal sheet to restore the roof.

Since April, the company has increased in size. In addition to Najera, there are six other volunteer officers. The company has been launched only for a short time and has already made at least one sale and one donation every week. Najera has received support from her alma mater, the Whitman School at Syracuse University, through its Couri Hatchery, a student business incubator.

For more information on De Manos Con Amor, visit the Website, Facebook or Instagram page. Please consider making a donation of any size on the company’s “Donate” page or shopping from the handmade item selection on the company’s “Shop” page.

Katherine Najera
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