Testimonials of two young entrepreneurs in Bolivia

Via Don Bosco
27 November 2017
In Bolivia, VIA Don Bosco supports vocational schools and employment agencies  in order to give the most vulnerable young people the chance to take the reins of their own destiny. They are accompanied during and after their vocational training on their way to the world of work or to the self-employment sector. Via Don Bosco is a partner of the Belgian Development Cooperation.


Two former students who started their own businesses share their story:

I dreamed of starting my own tailoring workshop and then I enrolled in the Don Bosco school for vocational training, in the “tailoring” section.

Woman sewing with a sewing machine.
© Via Don Bosco

Basilia – 27 years old - tailoring - Yapacaní

"My name is Basilia Cáceres Sandoval. I am 27 years old and I was born in Yapacaní. I am married and I have a son who goes to daycare since, because of my work, I cannot take care of him. I am currently renting an apartment with my husband and son. We are working hard to give our son the opportunity of attending university later, something we were not able to do. I am the penultimate in my family. My parents divorced when I was still at school. I then moved to my father's house, but I never lost contact with my mother. From time to time I visit her or she comes to see me in my sewing workshop.

When I finished high school, I wanted to go to university, but I have five brothers and sisters, so there was not enough money. That is why I decided at the age of 19 to go to Brazil, where I found a job in a textile company.

After 11 months, I returned to Bolivia. I dreamed of starting my own tailoring workshop and then I enrolled in the Don Bosco school for vocational training, in the “tailoring” section. In Brazil, I was only sewing, but during my professional training I learned how to take measurements and create a sweater, a dress or trousers myself. Now I can also repair a sewing machine.

Today, I create lots of clothes, according to the models my customers want, or according to a basic model I develop myself. My workshop is located in the building I rent, near the market. Thanks to the money I earned in Brazil, I was able to buy an electronic sewing machine, as well as a fabric cutting machine and a button sewing machine. This way, I have everything I need to offer a high-quality service to my clients.

I differ from my competitors by the quality of my work, for example I have orders from transport companies and schools. I would like to further improve my skills through additional trainings in order to keep my customers satisfied. Clothing design is all my life and I want to surpass myself with the missions my clients entrust to me."

I like cooking, that is why I started preparing fresh meals to sell at the market where my uncle gave me a stall.

Woman with her trolley where she prepares meals.
© Via Don Bosco

Marlen - 25 years old - Gastronomy training - Santa Cruz

"I am Marlen Chacón Ticona, 25 years old. I attend the gastronomy training at the vocational school “Centro de Educación Alternativa Mama Margarita” (CEAMM) in Santa Cruz. Last year I was finishing the basic training and by the end of 2017 I will be graduating. I live with my mother and sister. My sister is studying medicine. When my mother got sick a few years ago, I was responsible for the family. My sister's education is expensive.

I like cooking, that is why I started preparing fresh meals to sell at the market where my uncle gave me a stall. Every day I pay two Bolivianos (about 0.25€) to the owner of the market and I sell about 50 meals a day at the price of 25 to 50 Bolivianos per meal. I work from Monday to Saturday. Since I only work in the morning, I can go to school in the afternoon to continue developing my culinary skills. My dream would be to open a restaurant where I could serve breakfast and lunch. Thanks to the sale on the market, I can save money to pay the rent of a building in the future. During my CEAMM training, I learned to prepare a lot of different dishes including my favorite "plato paceño", a regional dish of La Paz, made from corn, beans, potatoes, cheese and chili." 

VIA Don Bosco


VIA Don Bosco is a recognised Belgian NGO that supports youth education and employment in Africa and Latin America. For more than 45 years, VIA Don Bosco has been providing educational and financial cooperation to local schools. The development of the social and vocational skills of disadvantaged young people is the guiding thread of the projects. The NGO helps them to become active global citizens and to find a place in the labour market. At the same time, links are created between schools in Belgium and elsewhere in the world. In this way, VIA Don Bosco contributes to the building of an equitable society that meets the sustainable development goals (SDG).

Bolivia Entrepreneurship Women Vocational training
Back Economy
About the same theme - Article 7 /6 Skills for a better future