“I help you, you help me”: Building equitable and collaborative relationships
Carolina Nieto was honored as an Ashoka ChangemakeHER, Changemakers's inaugural celebration of the world's most influentual and inspiring women. Find her fellow honorees' voices here.
by Natalie Zuñiga Gogny, Ashoka Changemakers
Carolina Nieto’s organization Saber para la Vida is empowering women entrepreneurs in Mexico and throughout the world by building a movement called “Women Changing the World.” Nieto works with women who make handmade products to integrate them into the world economy, and to allow them to fulfill their dream of making a dignified living from their work. At the same time she works with women in cities to help them realize their dreams of designing and selling products that contribute to the growth of other women.
Nieto’s organization trains communities of producers to create one-of-a-kind, high quality, handmade products. It also trains designers to connect these handmade products with markets where there is a demand for them, while encouraging sellers and buyers to contribute to building a better world.
In this short video, Nieto talks about how she started on the path to become a social entrepreneur, and how it has evolved over the years. She concludes her video interview with advice that will inspire women from around the world to continue to work toward reaching their dreams.
Hello, I am Carolina Nieto, from Saber para la Vida (Knowledge for Life).
My dream began ten years ago at todamujer.com, where I had the opportunity to speak with many women who were interested in starting their own entrepreneurships. Most of them were women from the city who were looking for a product to sell – something innovative and unique, but they didn’t know where to find something like that.
On the other hand, I found communities that were producing wonderful hand-made products, but were located in remote and rural areas and indigenous communities, with limited possibilities for accessing markets where they could offer their products at a good price.
So, I looked to connect these two groups that demonstrated such great potential by founding Saber para la Vida, which trains communities to be able to produce unique products that sold to women in cities. We have trained several communities. Today we have many new products as a result of this project.
However, a new challenge appeared: we saw a gap in the ability to commercialize products.
So today, instead of creating a traditional business, we are creating a social business, that is mainly a movement of women called “Women Changing the World.” We invite women to be producers of handmade products, designers of products, saleswomen, or consumers. We are looking to create a model that can be expanded and replicated to reach thousands of women around the world.
I invite you to dare to dream and to seek out what you most yearn for today, while inviting others to join you! With patience, you will learn as you go. Trust that what you believe in will really happen. Believe that anything you do can truly contribute to a better world.
Carolina Nieto is President of the Saber para la Vida Association in Mexico.