In Ecuador, Starting Over Through Baking

By Julie Ugoretz, HIAS Community Engagement Fellow

“I have to start all over again,” Patricia recalls thinking when she arrived in Ecuador, a country that is home to some 60,524 refugees.

"It is very tough to run away and leave your home empty-handed, only with your children." 

A recently released video from HIAS in Ecuador follows Patricia, a Colombian refugee in Ecuador who is making a new life in safety for herself and her family by baking and selling donuts. With help from HIAS and UNHCR, Patricia was able to purchase the ingredients she needed to start her business, giving her a livelihood and allowing her to begin saving.

Patricia and her husband had to flee their hometown in Colombia when armed groups threatened her husband’s family. Now, Patricia hopes to open her own bakery.

"My biggest dream is to own a bakery where I can give jobs to people who need it," she says.

63 percent of refugees in Ecuador live in poverty, but thanks to the Graduation Model for Refugees developed by HIAS, in partnership with UNHCR, thousands of refugees are finding their way out. The multifaceted program, which builds skills, loans capital, and places refugees in jobs, has helped 2,363 refugees just like Patricia in Ecuador, graduating 70% of them out of poverty.

To learn more about HIAS’ work protecting and welcoming refugees in Ecuador, click here. To learn more about the Graduation Model for Refugees, click here.

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