Célida lives in one of the most economically disadvantaged areas of the Dominican Republic. Her neighborhood was hit hard by hurricanes in 2007, nearly destroying its entire infrastructure. Soon after, her husband passed away, leaving her to support herself and their three children on her own.
She started her tilapia farm to do just that, and it soon became a great success. She now produces 150,000 pounds of fish each year at Coordinadora del Centro de Producción Piscícola de Bombita (CEPROPIBO) and employs up to 19 women in the high season. The farm supplies 22 families in the area with sustainably farmed protein at a low cost, and Célida sells her fish to local restaurants at a slightly higher cost. With her profits, she has helped to pave streets in her community, provide transportation for college students, improve health facilities, build a school and increase the availability of sports programs.
Célida’s inspirational story led to Banco BHD León honoring her with its first annual Premio Mujeres que Cambian el Mundo (Women Who Change the World Award) in 2015. She earned a prize of 1 million pesos (more than US$22,000), which she will use to further grow her business and improve her community.