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Today we’re bringing you a success story of another kind. This is the story of Silvia. She’s been able to move from living in extreme poverty to becoming a successful micro-entrepreneur (small business owner) in Haiti because of your gently worn, used and news shoes collected during shoe drive fundraisers.

When Haiti suffered the devastating earthquake in 2010, Silvia was a single mom living in extreme poverty with her young son. She was earning only $2 a day. When the earthquake shook through Haiti, Silvia and her son, David, literally lost everything. A few weeks later, Silvia’s friend asked her to help sell shoes in Port-au-Prince.

As tough as things were for Silvia and David, she was determined not have David work. She wanted him to focus on his education. Silvia worked 7 days a week and often 12 hour days.

Slowly but surely, Silvia was able to move on and build a small business of her own selling shoes that are collected in the United States in shoe drive fundraisers and shipped to developing nations. The shoes are sold–for pennies on the dollar–to micro-entrepreneurs such as Silvia. Most micro-entrepreneurs prefer a hand-up rather than a hand-out.

Someone like Silvia takes the shoes and cleans them up. She then sells them in her local community for a small fraction of the original price they cost consumers in the United States. But, even with a modest price, the shoes are sold for a profit.

We’re happy to report that Silvia has successfully grown her micro-enterprise and she has several people working for her. She’s gone from earning $2 a day to over $60. And, most importantly, as a parent, she kept her promise. Her son, David, never had to leave school to work. Silvia was able to provide from him. He graduated high school and has gone on to obtain a college education.

Silvia’s just one example of how a social enterprise, such as Funds2Orgs, can partner with shoe drive fundraising partners to help them raise money and make a difference in the world.

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