My name is Maria Pena and I was born and raised in La Paz, Bolivia.
I come from a small but very supportive family, where my mom raised my two brothers and I as a single parent. Poverty is the biggest challenge in my community, especially among women, which are continuously discriminated and limited to their basic civil rights. It is heartbreaking to see mothers looking through your trash and their children working or begging in the streets, so I have promised myself I will do something to make a change and create women leaders.
Last year I graduated as an Industrial Engineer and aside from my full-time job, I am currently developing a website that will fund sustainable projects with the aim of changing people’s lives. Pugoka (Pumping Good Karma) is the name of the website and its motto is “Products that change lives”. The main goal is to create opportunities for disadvantaged people, especially women, and to support local artisans. We don’t only support women because they are more disadvantaged but because they are the center of family units and their well being and success will influence not only their direct family but also their community as a whole.
Aside from donations, a percentage of each purchase from Pugoka will go to fund these projects. The Voices of Our Future training will provide me with the knowledge and coverage needed to have a successful launch of Pugoka, enabling families and communities in Bolivia to break out of the cycle of poverty. I am eager to meet people that have similar interests or similar projects so we can work intertwined and cooperate with each other to make our projects and visions a reality.
The website is still under development but please check it out: www.pugoka.com