The family Valera Cruz is from Barquisimeto – Venezuela. Monica Cruz is a 30 years old single mother and has a degree as a Gourmet Chef. She has a little family alongside her 7 years old daughter, Maru Cruz and her mother, Mery Valera, who is 58 years old.

They came to Ecuador in November 2018 in the most critical situation in Venezuela hoping a better future for her daughter and mother. All of them live in a rented room in the neighborhood “Comité del Pueblo”, they lack basic belongings and don’t have privacy while using the other areas of the house.

In 2019, the family came to Pan de Vida invited by a friend that attended the hunger relief program. After participating in the program of EMERGENCY RELIEF (exclusive for migrants) organized by Pan de Vida two Thursdays a month, the family was interviewed and was found socially vulnerable in areas such as health, food, clothing and shelter, emotional, and spiritual fulfillment. Monica had frequent depressive episodes and Ms. Mery had high blood pressure problems due to lack of medicines.

Pan de Vida held an integral process of social assistance and followed up the Cruz family situation. They were attended in the second Health Fair organized in the foundation where they were led to a clinic to have specific tests done. Pan de Vida, then, bought them medicines according to their needs.

In April 2019, Monica joined the entrepreneurship program with a business idea based in her culinary knowledge. Maru participated in a Vacation Bible School Camp organized by Pan de Vida in July 2019. There she received biblical teachings and participated in recreational games and activities. The group also provided her the school uniform and school supplies to start classes formally. The family received psychological evaluation and a systematic study of the word of God.

Currently the family Valera Cruz is developing its fast-food sales project (empanadas, hot dogs and drinks).

Monica alongside Pan de Vida designed this entrepreneurship project. Pan de Vida funded Monica with $200. Additionally, we were able to connect her with the program ROTARY-ACT. She received the support from CLUB ROTARIOS, they provided her with hot dog cart so she would have her own rather than the rental she used first.

There have been many different hindrances that Monica has had to face, Monica and her mom work in different schedules so they can attend and spend time with Maru who attends a public school.  Also, facing the fact that at the beginning the sales are really small, the street is highly  competitive, new municipality controls and finally the unexpected political instability that prevented them from working for 11 days that caused them to literally “eat” their capital.

In addition, normal logistical difficulties plus unexpected ones, for example, recently one of the cartwheels broke and has to be repaired. While she gets the money to do that, Monica was able to get job cleaning houses. She is hired two to three times per week with this activity, which helps her make ends meet.

Pan de Vida provided them a batch of goods (slippers and shirts) for wholesale and retail so they can recuperate their capital and continue with their project. Despite all the ordeal they have had to live, the family recognize an improvement in their quality of life, materially and spiritually. They know that achieving their goals will not be easy, [but they trust in the blessing of God and the support of Pan de Vida.


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