interesting model of sustainable business

Lambada

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There are some similarities with the Kiva groups who work co-operatively, but their group members are existing micro-entrepreneurs and not taken from the sex industry.
 

J D Sauser

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"working" girls in India make NO money... they barely survive. So, if you can teletransport them out of the GRIP of human traffickers... if you can only give them the same (bare survival) or just a little more, many are likely to take up the opportunity.

HERE, it's a different ball game. "Semi-pro" and working girls alike, while young and beautiful, make enough money to sustain the stupidity or her male siblings, her pimping idiot BF and bail him out of jail every now and then and to spend on trashy clothes and the latest high tech cell phone... every couple of weeks. The only thing they don't seem able to afford on that "income" (after all "deductions" above) are the minutos for the cell phone and to safe for a home and better future for their work related kids.
But then, they don't really care... Gringo "novios" are being educated to call back upon being "beeped", kids are "dumped" with the promise of a better future "someday"... and future.... well, future... who cares really, que viva el bonche!

So, you want to propose to them to make bags out of recycled materials instead? Sure, CUANTO ME PAGAN?
Ai, I YO voy a cojer lucha haciendo eto to'o el dia (me van a danar mis unas con e'ta vaina)... y la manana tambien, y que soy YO, una chopa por acaso? Y que creen, que YO no me respeto, eh?


Well intentioned idea, but good luck with that here.

Sorry, I hate to burst dreams... I WISHED it would work.
Why do you think we have virtually NO industry here? Just the lack of professionally formed personnel and electric power?

... J-D.
 

MaineGirl

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JD, I never said I thought there was no industry here. Your post is enlightening. I am more concerned with people with no choice, no voice--you seem to think that many working girls have choice and voice--good for you.
 

J D Sauser

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JD, I never said I thought there was no industry here. Your post is enlightening. I am more concerned with people with no choice, no voice--you seem to think that many working girls have choice and voice--good for you.
First MG, it was and is not my intention to be confrontational with you.
I'd welcome a solution, probably just as much as you. I just don't think that the model applied to countries where girls are essentially SOLD by an organization for "peanuts" can be applied here.
Sorry yes, I believe most here have options. Many may be "pimped" out by their brothers and family or super chevere boy friend, but it's in most cases not organized crime that exploits these girls here. The hustle a trick, THEY get the money... only then, do they spend it stupidly on all the parasites they carry with them.
If you like to believe that they do it for their kids... well, first check where the kids are at, and how they are clothed and fed and to what school they are sent to by their devoted "mother" (and if the "father" did not happen to be just another "novio"-client) and then compare what you find to what SHE has in cell phones, i-pods, expensive but still trashy clothes and all the stuff she spends on but looses, breaks, drops and otherwise wastes on wart-BF's and useless brothers who convert any money in beer or funny baseball caps.
I know, I know... I get carried away... but I look at the whole thing from the children's view point... not just because I take care of one or two of "these" kids... but because I see all the others around them.

What are the roots to it all? Certainly IGNORANCE, but also laziness, YES I said it; LAZINESS! How politically incorrect, I know... but, somebody has to say it.
Can it be changed?
I think the only real chance is to break the circle and help the kids (ONLY), help them to a better education, a better life and for them to learn to realize that "Cool" (here "tiguera" or "chevere", "vacano"...) does not cut it and will NEVER provide them with what a child hopes for.

But then, let me tell you a little story, while we're at it and in order to prove to you, that I can be open minded too:

A friend of mine came to visit about two years ago. I primed him on what to do and what not to do and especially "WHOM" with not. I took him out and on our second night, to my horror he had already picked up a "girl".
She was Haitian, good looking but obviously in the "trade". Set on all "warning lights" but no, they decided to "fall in love". Actually, they really kind'a did, no money ever changed hands... but obviously, that's a line of "business" too. So, they "dated" for a month or so until he discovered that he was not making it easy on himself among the local population (you can take the girl out of the barrio but hardly the barrio out of the girl... in that case it was especially obvious). Anyways, they broke up. I felt somewhat bad about it, because I think, she got to like him quite a bit, and had it been somewhere else, they'd might have had a chance.
Anyways, ever since up until about a year, I'd see here "do" the Malecon on afternoons or at night. Then, she vanished. I did not notice at first, but then I thought that maybe she found a "long term deal" or maybe even hit the jackpot maybe.
Last week I zip my after work Gatorade on the Malecon in the early evening and as I watch the crowd, the joggers, the kids, I couldn't help put concentrate on a lovely "Lady", dressed not only nicely but very decently. As she came closer, I developed the feeling that I'd knew here from somewhere. She had recognized me before I realized that it was her. WHAT A CHANGE! A LADY as you'd only see few in her age and of her origins in this country. She came over and greeted me. Everything, even here movements and posture had changed. She seemed so happy, healthy and proud. I asked her, how she was doing. She had "made" the equivalent of about 1200 Dollars on her last "date" about a year ago, she told me. She decided to stop and setup a little colmado within Barrio Costero (NOT a nice area in Puerto Plata) where she lives. It developed quickly and she is doing "fine" she said. She was proud and happy. I congratulated her and told her that if that was the case, I was proud for her too.

Btw. she has no kids. She did both, the "trade" and then the colmado on her own decision!

... J-D.
 
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Keith R

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There are several very successful and economically sustainable projects in this vein in Brazil -- making usable and reusable products (shopping bags, purses, etc.) from materials that would otherwise be discarded -- such as banners, ruffia sacks, plastic beverage bottles -- just by training people (often seamtresses) who are unemployed or underemployed in small towns or poor parts of big cities. All of these projects could, conceivably, be done in the DR. I have blogged about several of them:
http://www.temasactuales.com/temasblog/environmental-protection/using-crafts-to-promote-recycling-and-employment/
http://www.temasactuales.com/temasblog/environmental-protection/waste-recycling/from-banners-to-reusable-shopping-bags/
http://www.temasactuales.com/temasblog/environmental-protection/waste-recycling/upcycling-raffia-sacks

There are also other very good projects that make crafts from drink can tabs, furniture from used tires (certainly is a big supply of those lying around in the DR!) or plastic bottles, or even solar water heaters made with plastic bottles and aseptic packaging (tetra-brik, that stuff that makes up the drink boxes your juices and UHT milk comes in).

Most of these are done on small business basis, although in most cases they got started with some help with training and organization from university students or a state small biz development agency.
 

greydread

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Jan 3, 2007
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different society, level of poverty and problem...

I am more concerned with people with no choice, no voice--you seem to think that many working girls have choice and voice--good for you.
What? Like it's his opinion? It's what he knows to be fact. There are many working single Mom's, Married Moms and Women with no children who are university students, dental assistants, nurses, administrative assistants, store clerks, government workers, hotel employees, you name a profession who engage in occasional sex for pay, promotion, status or whatever currency they're dealing for in the DR. (as formerly stated it could be that shiny new cell phone).

The number of deals that go down in tourist areas pales in comparison to the number of deals that go down in Dominican society every day. The notion that if foreigners went away and never came back prostitution would end in the DR couldn't be farther from reality. There is no law against a citizen trading sexual favors for money in the Dominican Republic. Not for nothing. What do you think all those 'cabanas' are for?
 
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las2137

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Give sex trade workers a different industry to make money.

Freeset - Our Story


Can anyone see this being done in DR? Is this already being done?
I know of one organization that does work with commercial sex workers in several areas in the DR: Centro de Promocion y Solidaridad Humana (CEPROSH). I worked briefly with the organization in a different context, but had the opportunity to sit in on several group meetings with the CSWs. Although CEPROSH did not have a microfinance/microbusiness program at the time, many of the CSWs expressed that they felt empowered through the programs that CEPROSH had.

And, for the record, they did not fit the profile that JD describes.
 

J D Sauser

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I know of one organization that does work with commercial sex workers in several areas in the DR: Centro de Promocion y Solidaridad Humana (CEPROSH). I worked briefly with the organization in a different context, but had the opportunity to sit in on several group meetings with the CSWs. Although CEPROSH did not have a microfinance/microbusiness program at the time, many of the CSWs expressed that they felt empowered through the programs that CEPROSH had.

And, for the record, they did not fit the profile that JD describes.
Interesting.

Who did not fit which profile (I described), the targeted "working" girls or the activity of the organization?

I briefly visited their web site (CEPROSH). It does not seem evident to me what approach they are taking (besides the suggestion to READ). Can you share with us what they do, or how they do it, whom with and what the results were or are?

... J-D.
 

J D Sauser

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It's complicated and the "society" is not helping much either.

What? Like it's his opinion? It's what he knows to be fact. There are many working single Mom's, Married Moms and Women with no children who are university students, dental assistants, nurses, administrative assistants, store clerks, government workers, hotel employees, you name a profession who engage in occasional sex for pay, promotion, status or whatever currency they're dealing for in the DR. (as formerly stated it could be that shiny new cell phone).

The number of deals that go down in tourist areas pales in comparison to the number of deals that go down in Dominican society every day. The notion that if foreigners went away and never came back prostitution would end in the DR couldn't be farther from reality. There is no law against a citizen trading sexual favors for money in the Dominican Republic. Not for nothing. What do you think all those 'cabanas' are for?
And then, there IS the pressure.
My GF who studies in her last year at UASD, has been repeatedly asked by their physics teacher for a date and her phone number. She repeatedly declined. Finally, he gave her a really bat rating on her last exam, basically forcing her to repeat the class. We protested, and demanded for the corrected exam to be made available to us to check (this happened just last week). Although, school rules forces the teacher to produce it... he hid behind "being on vacation"! Finally, as I started to put up the heat, an alternate physics professor "volunteered" to "talk" to the teacher in question and mediate. Wednesday he called and invited us to check her grades (on the UASD web site)... Her grade had been "corrected" to a a sweet 95/100! We were urged to let it "go" now. I told the other professor thanks, but that he could tell his "buddy" that next time he'd only ask her for her name, he could prepare to read my vehicle's VIN number from the chassis.

It's NORMAL here. But still, even thou it's not always easy and sometimes even frown upon by the "society"... most girls can have a choice. Not always, but more often than not.

An other thing one has to keep in mind is, that many children, not just sons and daughters of "working girls" are being raised by "uncles" and "aunts" or a step parent or among "cousins" which can have notable age differences. From what I only start to understand how wide spread this practice is, one of the results of this regrettable "tradition" is, that many girls turn out to have been abused or "initiated" by a step father, half brother, "cousin" or current "novio" of the acting "mother" at a very early age. Don't ask-don't tell, could have been a catch phrase invented here.
The problem snowballs when girls whit these kinds of experiences then are let loose out on the street (cutting education short) and finally wind up being "mothers" themselves, again, unable, unwilling to properly raise the next generation.

It's an uneasy subject... and as you may see, I myself have contradicting opinions of my own, again. But from what I seem to see. The best hopes to break the circle is the very young kids. THEY are without a doubt the VICTIMS which had no say, no chance to decision making. THEY are the ones which in most cases are willing to take up a chance handed to them and DO THEIR PART.

... J-D.
 

las2137

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Interesting.

Who did not fit which profile (I described), the targeted "working" girls or the activity of the organization?

I briefly visited their web site (CEPROSH). It does not seem evident to me what approach they are taking (besides the suggestion to READ). Can you share with us what they do, or how they do it, whom with and what the results were or are?

... J-D.
Sorry, should have clarified. I mean the first "working girl" you described in the first post- giving all to tiguere, lazy and caring only about the credito for the cell phone. It did not mesh with my observations of the CSWs I briefly interacted with at CEPROSH.

As I said, I worked with CEPROSH in a different context (HIV) so I can't speak to their projects directly targeted towards CSWs. In the context of the project I was working on, they organized peer leaders (including CSWs) and trained them in safe sex practices. They focused a lot on behavior change and self-esteem, empowering them to make informed decisions.

The approach the organization took was successful because, according to the women, they were not looked down upon or scorned.

Actually, the common theme in all of the groups I sat in on was their children. Just as you say, they recognized that maybe they had made bad decisions, but they wanted to make things right for their children. In the context of the project I was on, it was along the lines of "We need to be careful with sex safe practices because if we get sick, our children will suffer."

I know that CEPROSH partners with PSI and was a local USAID recipient at one point, so they at least meet organizations standard set by the US government.
 
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J D Sauser

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Sorry, should have clarified. I mean the first "working girl" you described in the first post- giving all to tiguere, lazy and caring only about the credito for the cell phone. It did not mesh with my observations of the CSWs I briefly interacted with at CEPROSH.

As I said, I worked with CEPROSH in a different context (HIV) so I can't speak to their projects directly targeted towards CSWs. In the context of the project I was working on, they organized peer leaders (including CSWs) and trained them in safe sex practices. They focused a lot on behavior change and self-esteem, empowering them to make informed decisions.

The approach the organization took was successful because, according to the women, they were not looked down upon or scorned.

Actually, the common theme in all of the groups I sat in on was their children. Just as you say, they recognized that maybe they had made bad decisions, but they wanted to make things right for their children. In the context of the project I was on, it was along the lines of "We need to be careful with sex safe practices because if we get sick, our children will suffer."

I know that CEPROSH partners with PSI and was a local USAID recipient at one point, so they at least meet organizations standard set by the US government.
Thanks for clarifying. Commendable work and you brought up a too often kept silent subject: HIV.

... J-D.
 

MaineGirl

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I think JD is right--that the true good work in DR must start with the kids.

However I must say that the model in India might be tweaked to be more fashion forward and fashion oriented as opposed to tote bags for business conferences or staff presents. Dominicanas are famous for fashion, beauty, etc. So a microindustry based in fashion design training might hold real appeal and a decent choice or change of "trade"--trade your fashion forwardness, not your body.

Just thoughts.
 

J D Sauser

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I think JD is right--that the true good work in DR must start with the kids.

However I must say that the model in India might be tweaked to be more fashion forward and fashion oriented as opposed to tote bags for business conferences or staff presents. Dominicanas are famous for fashion, beauty, etc. So a microindustry based in fashion design training might hold real appeal and a decent choice or change of "trade"--trade your fashion forwardness, not your body.

Just thoughts.

Interesting and creative idea, I agree (and thanks for receiving some of my points favorably).

The problem is, that unless the project is subsidized heavily, the little enterprise would have to be VERY profitable so to be able to pay out salaries high/attractive enough to keep some of these girls and women OFF "easy" Avenue.
Obviously the biggest salary would be stricken... the company profit to the "boss". More like a cooperative?

I am sure, you realize too, that it is very difficult to create a business here which is only profitable with low salaries. But then, staffed and eventually run by/with employees who expect to go home with or or two thousand Pesos each day it is their pleasure to show up for work (because that's the routine they have)... :paranoid:

The term "productivity" comes to mind :squareeye.

It will take a lot of patience to school them, teach them, and get them to become productive so what ever the manufacture is still a commercially viable product.

... J-D
 

RacerX

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JD, I never said I thought there was no industry here. Your post is enlightening. I am more concerned with people with no choice, no voice--you seem to think that many working girls have choice and voice--good for you.
I agree with Sauser in the sentiment that if you want to be charitable here it will be taken for granted. Charity here works best like one of those youthful offender camps that the State runs where your from for juveniles, with a very tough hand. Otherwise it will be met not only with derision but a specific degree of either entitlement or confusion. They dont, wont, or cant see the need for you to train them to do something productive with their own life and time. It will be m ore of "why dont you just give me the money?" or "I dont need to know how to do any more than what I am already doing."
I had a friend who had no work nor opportunity(as she described it). I told her well she had a big kitchen sink and an ironing board AND out back plenty space to string a line and that she could take in laundry from her neighbors and make some money that way. All I got was excuses about how unfeasable it was.
I d suspect that even issuing microloans might be a losing position here unless you re a domestically vested financial interest.
 

las2137

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It turns out there is more than one NGO working to give CSWs an alternative- this one in Haina.

New lives for sex workers in the Dominican Republic


I will always maintain that if you want a project run successfully, give it to a nun to manage!

These days, not all of the women attending these classes are prostitutes. Although the center was built specifically for sex workers, women from the surrounding, impoverished, neighborhood would show up asking for education as well. Noyola says the nuns saw a chance to create solidarity between these women and the full-time sex workers. So they welcomed them into the center, with the stern warning that there was not to be any disparagement of the prostitutes.
(Emphasis mine)
 
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Judging by the number of Dominican beauty shops here in the DC area, there is still a big demand for Dominican women working here in the industry. I had my hair cut at a Dominican place and the owner was from Ecuador and he hired Dominican stylists. He said the good thing about the Dominican stylists is they are experienced with "African" hair, but also bring in Hispanics because they speak Spanish. I'm just north of the Beltway and found 5 Dominican shops within 10 minutes of here although there are few Dominicans compared to from El Salvador.

Fashion is fine and well but the number of people who make it who get into it is pretty small. I think there are plenty of industries women are getting into in the DR but they are still getting held back from advancement. Women are more likely to get degrees in the US now and I expect it's happening in the DR as well. Women in the DR often think of owning a beauty shop now because it's something they think of as achievable. They need to think the same is possible to be an order manager at IKEA or some other job that would have been only for men 10 or 15 years ago. The change is coming I think, but it takes time and not getting pregnant before marriage...