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Claus is from Guatemala and is a qualified chef. Salvador Salas
Claus, a refugee in Malaga city: 'I arrived in 2019 from Guatemala and now have two cake shops'
Migration

Claus, a refugee in Malaga city: 'I arrived in 2019 from Guatemala and now have two cake shops'

She sought refuge in Spain due to the political problems affecting her family in her home country; four years later she has become a successful business owner

Cristina Vallejo

Malaga

Friday, 28 June 2024, 11:01

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Claus is from Guatemala, is 45 years old and arrived in Malaga in August 2019 when her three children were eight, ten and twelve. An acquaintance of hers lived in the city and told her that it was beautiful and safe; quite the opposite of Guatemala. "It is an unsafe country, there is crime, poverty and little work".

Added to this was a political "problem" of her mother's husband, which affected all the family and hit her financially. So she was forced to leave, initially considering herself an economic migrant. But the Uruguayan woman who gave her shelter in Malaga advised her to ask for asylum since she had come to Spain due to a political issue.

While her asylum application was being processed, she worked cleaning houses for 20 euros: "We ate all week on that amount," she explained.

In December 2019, her mother visited her for a month. The next month, back in Guatemala, she died. Tearful, Claus recalled: "I interpreted that as a sign I had left the country at the right time."

During the pandemic she used her qualification as a food coach and chef to teach online. Once Covid-19 was over and she had a work permit, she worked in cafés.

But she is a born entrepreneur. So she went to the CADE business advice centres of the Andalusian government for help. With their advice and a loan of 25,000 euros she started a bakery, Claus Bakery, in January 2022 - "still wearing the mask". Today she already has two shops employing six workers.

Her children are building their dreams in Spain: the eldest is finishing secondary school and wants to be a scriptwriter and film director; the middle child wants to be a footballer; and the youngest wants to be a film actor.

"I am grateful to Spain and to every person who has come my way. When I opened the bakery I didn't know what I was going to be." But she juggled her work in the shop with taking care of her children for a long time.

"That was the first month, the second, the third and the fourth. By the fifth month I had my first employee. After a year I had three employees and after two years I had my second shop. Now I want to franchise it and turn it into a nationwide company," she concluded.

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