Meet Jimena and learn about how she's building her dream

Written by:  Michael Reardon, '13


Upon first meeting Jimena Beatriz Salas Cancino, I could tell she was someone full of life—someone who would stop at nothing to provide for her family and loved ones. Life in Calama, Chile is not easy. In one of the driest regions in the world (with less than a couple centimeters of rain per year), people live day to day in a town about the size of the Magic Kingdom at Disneyland. You won’t find Mickey or Minnie here though. Prices are inflated due to its proximity to the mine and food is simple made up of bread, chicken, and rice. It’s the people however, that make this city magical.

Jimena is one of those people. Jimena was one of the first women in Calama to finish the Beta Test of the DreamBuilder program. She is a mother, a grandmother, and an active member of society. Having moved here after she left her husband, she strived to make sure her family wouldn’t go hungry after traveling in poverty since her separation. An elderly woman who came across her and her family living under a bridge once gave her help. She took in Jimena and her family to help them survive the night. It was here that Jimena learned what would become her newfound business and profession—she learned to sew.Jimena's DreamBuilder certificate

Jimena finished the DreamBuilder program in April and is now one of the most successful seamstresses in Calama. Jimena has learned the value of her clients and what it means to know her competition and surpass them. “DreamBuilder fue un éxito para mi porque aprendió ordenarme y aprendí a llevar mi negocio,” she says. (DreamBuilder was a success for me because I learned how to organize myself and I learned how to run my business.) She has taken upon herself the task of expanding her business even further as she realized her inherent skill as a seamstress. She is now looking to separate her business from her personal life and increase marketing efforts by saving for a large welcoming sign above the office. When asked how DreamBuilder affected her business and her ‘spirit’ as a businesswoman, it was clear in her response: “Mira donde estoy.” She’s right, ‘look where she is,” and the sky is her limit.