Going to school and working: Adelina’s Story


Adelina, who cuts the blouse and skirt patterns for ACOPAMSLR (Agrocultural Cooperative Association and Women Artisans of San Luis los Ranchos), has a scholarship and is studying business administration at the University in the municipality of Santa Tecla. This necessitates her leaving home at 3 am, walking an hour and twenty minutes in the dark down the mountain to take a bus for the 45 minute ride to the city for her first class at 6:30 am. After her second class, she reverses the trip to arrive at work at the co-op for 12:30 pm. She and the women are very proud of her commitment to both school and work.

ACOPAMSLR is a cooperative composed of a sewing center and indigo-dyed clothing production. This business is run by seven women who, with SEW’s help, have a building in which to work. They are incorporated as a legal cooperative, have written by-laws, and are trained in business practices such as accounting and inventory control. When Sisters Anne Marie Gardiner and Marie Chiodo visited ACOMPAMSLR in October 2012, one of the women asked: How did you find us up here?” — a legitimate question as it takes an hours-long ride up tortuous, rocky, gully-filled mountain roads.

At present, the women have government uniform contracts from three schools. Obtaining those contracts is a daunting task involving repeated trips to the Ministry of Business in the capital San Salvador (over 2 ½ hours away) and then having to qualify through visits by representatives from the Small Business Administration. In addition to making the uniforms, the women are working on creating more elaborate designs for the indigo clothes and are considering training to sew sports uniforms.