A band of Latin American activist economists sets out to change their continent, teaming up with impoverished women to challenge accepted notions on how to eradicate poverty. The women become empowered economic and political engines of their communities. If taken to scale, could 20 million women upend a continent?
Our story takes place in South America, the continent with the world’s largest economic inequality gap, where hundreds of millions of people live in dire circumstances. And the poorest of the poor are the women: In a parched bean field in the “sertão” desert of northeast Brazil Maria Gonçalves explains how she has been “destroyed” by poverty. In the Peruvian Andes, Cirila Quillahuaman and her family of subsistence farmers threshing lima beans, pitchforking the dried plants up in the air. In dense slums of displaced people surrounding the sparkling tourist mecca of Cartagena, Colombia, Agripina Perea struggles to feed her hungry children. In her dilapidated house in the pastoral hills of central Colombia, Edith Suarez dreams of raising chickens to supplement her meager income. It is the plight of women like these, multiplied by millions, which set a band of young activist economists in Latin America on a journey to develop new ideas that confront what they call “the scandal of inequality” on their continent. They formed Fundación Capital, and we meet them in their modern bustling office in downtown Bogotá, the epicenter of their anti-poverty lab: Yves Moury, founder of Fundación Capital, an outspoken Belgian ex-pat with big ambitions. He assembled 30 of the best and brightest young economists from across Latin America in what he describes as “a caring conspiracy” to disrupt the status quo and end poverty on their continent. Any Benitez was recently recruited by Yves into the “conspiracy.” A feisty Colombian powerhouse, she believes that women need to grab the reins of political and economic power to change society. Franz Gomez, co-founder of Fundación Capital, raised in poverty in Bolivia. Learned Marxist economics in La Paz, and free market economics at Notre Dame. He dreams of “a continent where no one goes barefoot and all can have at least 2 meals a day.” Outraged by “scandalous” economic inequality in the midst of an economic boom sweeping the continent, they want to take these innovative ideas to scale. To achieve this our activist economists partnered with women living in poverty, and at the heart of our film are their struggles as they work with, and learn from, impoverished women to figure out how to bring their innovative ideas to fruition: eureka moments, skepticism, failures and breakthroughs. They are on the verge of a major anti-poverty breakthrough; to empower millions of women, enabling them to become fully included, active citizens. How this breakthrough came about in a world of machismo and endemic poverty is the story of DISRUPTION.