Gracia Inc. is a social enterprise and empowerment program for young women who are trauma survivors. Their business is the Milagros Workshop, a higher-end jewelry making operation housed at the Casa Hogar, a residence for abused and neglected girls in Jalapa, Guatemala.
The objective of the project is to transform dependent young women with no concept of business into independent and empowered entrepreneurs.
The Gracia Entrepreneur Training Program has a strong evidence-based focus with a detailed curriculum drawing strongly on research conducted by the Brookings Institution and the Poverty Action Lab at MIT.
The social enterprise training is progressive with the focus for the younger girls on crafting technique and the emphasis on business training for the older girls. The idea is to provide transferable skills, not just jewelry making, but being able to manage a production schedule and supervise employees.
The empowerment training focuses on developing human, social, financial and physical assets. The practical aspects of this work involve everything from using email and opening a bank account to establishing a patient relationship with a medical doctor.
There are now 20 young women employed at the workshop. Ten are apprentices who reside at the Hogar. Ten others are full-fledged artisans living independently.
Milagros products represent unique items within the fair-trade niche. Gracia is connecting local crafting techniques to unique designs that will sell in the developed markets of the U.S., Europe and Asia.
The story of Gracia Inc. and the Milagros Workshop is a story about grace and miracles.