After attending boarding school in Hong Kong, Fabiana Ayala, ’17, knew she wanted to study business and Chinese, so Richmond’s international business program caught her eye. Even before she graduated, Ayala used what she learned at the Robins School of Business to make an impact in her home country of Bolivia.

“Living and studying abroad has allowed me to develop a worldly outlook, which has continued to make me feel curious about the world and its intricacies,” Ayala said.

On visits home between semesters, Ayala realized her burgeoning business acumen and knowledge of local culture could help create fair-wage employment opportunities for Bolivian women. Incorporating her interest in fashion, Ayala and Yasmine Karam, ’17, started TodoSuma (Spanish for “it all adds up”), selling handmade, crocheted swimsuits created by women in Ayala’s hometown of Cochabamba, Bolivia.

TodoSuma has been able to employ 35 women, ultimately providing them with financial independence and autonomy. Its products, which have expanded to clothing, blankets, and backpacks, are available online and in brick-and-mortar stores, including UR’s bookstore.

“TodoSuma’s vision was to help create a world where social responsibility is the status quo,” said Ayala, whose initial customers were UR classmates. “The most rewarding thing to come from creating TodoSuma was seeing this vision come
to life.”