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Copyright © 2020 Grupo Nutresa. All rights reserved. Medellín, Colombia.
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“I enjoy welcoming people into the restaurant. Sometimes they are in a bad mood but you can help them to be calm by greeting them with a smile on your face. Talking to them about good things gives me joy. For example, I refer to the ladies as “Miss” even if they are senior ladies, and they happily answer ‘It’s been a while since someone said that to me.’ That’s nice, a complete joy,” tells Yulieth Paola Montero, one of El Corral’s employees in Cartagena.
She has been working at the restaurant for three years. Her shift starts at eight in the morning and ends at four in the afternoon. Then, she goes back home, excited about returning to her two children: a ten-year-old boy and a one-year-old girl. “I’m a head-of-household mother and this job allows me to give my children everything they need: food, education and a home. That’s just wonderful,” says Yulieth.
She is part of Best Buddies, a Foundation that manages employment opportunities for people with special capabilities. Grupo Nutresa is an ally of this organization and has hired many of the Foundation’s “Amigos del Alma” (Kindred Friends), as the members of this organization are familiarly called.
During the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Yulieth had to stay at home due to the lockdown measures. “The company never left me on my own. Even though we were not working, I still got paid so that I could take care of myself and, most importantly, my children. During the lockdown, I basically became my son’s teacher, helping him to do his homework and with everything else he needed. I also had the chance to spend more time with my daughter and take even better care of her,” she states.
“From Yulieth I have learned that perseverance is a fundamental part of life and that nothing is impossible. Goals are achieved by being constant and dedicated,” says Carlos Manco, employment coach at the Best Buddies Foundation. Carlos is Yulieth’s mentor and guide, he supports and guides her in the diverse situations she has to address, and he is a facilitator between her and the work group. “Carlos has taught me to be patient and calm, and to listen to both myself and other people attentively,” expresses Yulieth. In 2020, Carlos continued supporting Yulieth by means of digital tools such as videocalls and WhatsApp messages.
Working at El Corral has enabled Yulieth to explore her love for cooking and languages; she loves welcoming foreign tourists at the restaurant so that she can learn some sentences in their languages. It has also motivated her to materialize her dream of owning a house and it has driven her to be completely autonomous or, as she says: “Since I started working here, I am way more independent.”
“The process with the Best Buddies Foundation has helped me to focus more on my family, so I always give my best to make sure that my two children have a good life. And here at El Corral I have learned to be a more independent person, and to be more open with my work colleagues and a more caring person in general.”