When Yhibelis Katiusca and her two young girls arrived in Ecuador in December of 2018, she had been walking to Ecuador from Venezuela for over a month to escape the financial crisis that was overtaking Venezuela. Yhibelis was pregnant and without money or a place to stay, forced to leave her other daughter in Venezuela because pneumonia had made her too weak for the journey to Ecuador. With her family ripped apart and her home behind her, Yhibelis turned to Pan de Vida for immediate assistance with food. It was at this point that Yhibelis met Juan Carlos, the social worker at Pan de Vida, and another volunteer woman who had compassion on her. After receiving a bag of food donations, Yhibelis and the volunteer prayed together and Yhibelis felt the encouragement of the Holy Spirit. She developed a hunger for the Word of God and began to read her bible daily.
In the beginning, Yhibelis walked for hours to Pan de Vida to receive help. After giving birth in August 2019, she received formula and diapers from Pan de Vida in addition to the food donations. Yhibelis was invited to join the micro-entrepreneurship program and constructed a plan to create a stable source of income for herself using her years of experience as an esthetician. She had always shaped women’s eyebrows using a razor and thread, but with a micro-loan from Pan de Vida, Yhibelis was able to purchase supplies such as waxing material and pigment for eyebrows which enabled her to use her skills to offer more diverse beauty services. Yhibelis founded her home beauty studio, Yhibe Stilo, and began to offer eyebrow shaping and pigmentation, facial exfoliation, skin care, eyelash lifting, and makeup services to clients in her neighborhood.
Yhibelis is able to secure $25 a week for her family using her skills and supplies. Going forward, she hopes to improve on her marketing and advertising, with aspirations of eventually owning her own beauty shop. Starting her life over financially has been incredibly difficult for Yhibelis after migrating from Venezuela to Ecuador, but by the grace of God and encouragement of the Holy Spirit she has been able to overcome the ample obstacles in her path.