Ofelia was born in the Ecuadorian Amazon region that borders Perú, right next to the Yasuni Biosphere Reserve. As an elementary school teacher, she began her career in the rural schools of the jungle. This experience introduced her to the native culture of the area as well as the great deprivations that the inhabitants suffer.
After beginning her family, Ofelia concentrated on being a homemaker. Ofelia used her free time to develop her natural abilities in handicrafts such as painting, carving, ceramic-making and jewelry-making. She decided to focus on jewelry-making because it allowed her to use materials from the jungle and channel her creativity towards nature. Ofelia found that she enjoyed refining these natural materials; giving form and added distinction to already beautiful objects.
After becoming a qualified Master Craftsman, Ofelia started her own small workshop. Her principal motivation in doing this was to teach a trade and give work to women in the jungle communities that she had met while teaching. These women had been denied all opportunities for self-development, and thus had no way to earn an income. Today Ofelia works with three women who she has provided a decent place to work and a sense of self-worth. These women now provide the primary income for their families through the jewelry they make with Ofelia.
Up until now, Ofelia’s primary market has been local, based in the city of Quito, Ecuador. However, her goal is to expand her business into the international market so that she can improve the lifestyle of her family and employees as well as increase her staff. By doing this, she hopes to help alleviate the problem of unemployment that affects rural communities and the country of Ecuador in general.
Ofelia has three children, two of whom are college graduates and are working as professionals. Her third child is currently in college.
Ofelia’s earnings as a jewelry artisan has helped her family acquire their own home and provide an education and a decent life for her three children. Ofelia has also been able to set up her own workshop with all the tools necessary to fill purchase orders, and pay her workers a fair wage.