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Young people in El Salvador discover entrepreneurial potential
To escape from poverty, many Salvadorans go abroad. Adiel (20) is one of the model young people who, with the support of Trias, are building their future in their own country.
Adiel was eight years old when his father moved out of the family home. He was left together with his mother, sister and three brothers. 'As the oldest son, I've always tried to take my responsibility', explains Adiel, who did small jobs from a young age in order to supplement his family's meagre income.
Adiel's mother and grandfather became members of Las Tablas, a local farming cooperative. They paved the way for Adiel to join the youth wing of the same cooperative. Together with other young people he is now cautiously taking his first steps as a beekeeper and passion fruit grower.
Today, 40 young people - 22 females and 18 males - have successfully joined forces to develop these two economic activities as a partnership. Adiel has risen through the ranks to become the group's president. 'Every member has the same rights and responsibilities and the profit is shared equally', explains Adiel, who is happy that so many young women are part of the group.
Leadership training from Trias
As their association is also part of umbrella organisation Confras, Adiel was selected alongside several dozen other young entrepreneurs to take part in a leadership training course run by Trias Central America, financed by Youca and the Belgian government. On this course, says Adiel, 'we not only increased our own knowledge and savoir-faire, but now I also know, for example, how as a leader I can guide all the other members - men and women - to achieve good outcomes.'
As president of the youth group, Adiel admires the visionary talents of the members. 'We not only know where we stand, but also know where we want to go. No one had ever grown passion fruit in the west of Honduras before. To diversify our markets, we are also making passion fruit wine and jelly.'
As the irrigation of passion fruit is very challenging, Adiel has invested a lot of energy in honey production in recent months. The youth cooperative only has 17 beehives and cannot meet demand. 'In the short term I want to expand our production to 150 hives. Only then can we pay for all the hours worked and maintain a small profit margin', he says.
At home, Adiel has started keeping chickens for eggs. He is also thinking about meat production and is planning to try his hand at pig farming. At the moment he has little time to devote to this, however, as he recently started to study architecture at university. Adiel gets up at 4am every morning to study, and hopes to graduate in a few years' time.
Because of his studies, Adiel needs to reduce the amount of work he does with the youth cooperative, but he has already built a good legacy. 'I started with nothing, and am living proof that young people can get far if they are continually hungry to pick up new skills and knowledge. Even in a country like El Salvador you can, as a young person, take up a leadership role, set other young people on a good path, and bring added value to wider society.'