Hooray for Wendy deGraaff! What would we do without our most loyal volunteer? Her dedication to the NCF is astounding. She recently completed the herculean task of arranging and running a garage sale (and anyone who has ever done a garage knows how much work that is!). Not only that-it was three days long. Wendy managed to raise a record $1,400! We are very grateful to know Wendy and to have her support. She will be returning to San Juan del Sur in November, so we will be reporting more news of her adventures in Nicaragua very soon. Stay tuned!
If you check this website regularly, you may remember that a group of Canadians from Ontario go to San Juan del Sur every year in January. Each time they go, they commit to doing a project. This year, they've outdone themselves! They put in a sun shelter over the courtyard of the main public school in San Juan del Sur (the school is called San Francisco de Asis). Although we can never be sure of how a project will turn out, this time the result was astounding!
To everyone involved with this project, congratulations and a huge thanks from the NCF! You have proven that people working together can make positive change happen.
This project is ongoing. For updated photos, please see the page called "Miravalle Sanitation Project" under the Projects tab above.
San Juan del Sur is a bustling tourist town in southern Nicaragua. However, in the surrounding rural areas, it's a very different story. This is something most tourists never get to see. There are many small agricultural communities made up of people with almost no chance to get ahead. Most of these people are unable to get a loan from a bank and if they do, the interest rates are exorbitant. All they need is a hand up; this is where micro-loans come in.
Our foundation began a no-interest micro-loan program for women of these rural areas about three years ago. At first, we had no idea if it would succeed, but the results have been astonishing! The business ideas are wide-ranging and well-organized. The re-payment rate is above 95%. Most important, however, is the positive effect on these women. For the first time, they can hold their heads high as they are able to provide for their children on their own, without charity.
We are very proud of our micro-loan program and would like to expand it. Many other communities have heard of it and want to participate!If you want to hear more about this and/or are interested in supporting a micro-loan, let us know.
Our fantastic volunteer, Wendy DeGraaf, has just returned from Nicaragua. Much to our delight, we discovered that not only is Wendy a great teacher, she is also a wonderful photographer! She kindly provided us with many pictures documenting her time spent in the little rural communities outside San Juan del Sur. Wendy gamely picked up some Spanish, taught English in very difficult circumstances, and figured out her way around the mysteries of Nicaragua. Not only that, she wants to go back! Thank you, Wendy-you can't imagine how grateful we are. We've given Wendy her own page to display some of these amazing photos. You can find it under the tab "about us" on the page called "volunteers in action".
The Miravalle water and latrine project is well underway
The people of the vibrant community of Miravalle have finally got what they have longed hoped for-a better water system and latrines! This kind of project is not glamourous, but is certainly very necessary. Thanks go to the donors who supported our Antarctica run for helping to get this going.
The Miravalle water and latrine project is going ahead and construction is set to begin soon! Thanks to all donors for helping out a little community in rural Nicaragua to finally get what everyone here takes for granted.
Are you interested in our microloan program? For updated information on it, please click on the link below:
There is another Los Pipitos (school for the disabled) in Puerto Cabezas. Sally Fellers from the Healing Art Foundation has been working to get it going for a while now. And like everywhere in Nicaragua, the weather is hard on buildings. Hurricane winds and rain are common and often very destructive! This month, the NCF was able to help do necessary repairs to the school. We also purchased therapy equipment and furniture. Of course, everything we do depends on others and we have many people to thank:
First, our gratitude as always, goes to Elsie Elder who on behalf of her daughter Elisabeth Elder, made this project possible. Elsie, we hope you know that we think of you and Elisabeth often.
And then, Sally Fellers. Sally has helped us in the past by providing people in our Los Pipitos with wheelchairs and walkers. Working together with Sally's Healing Art Foundation has been fantastic and we were very pleased to be able to do something for her for a change!
Finally, there is Carmen, from Puerto Cabezas, who works hard for her Los
Pipitos school. Like our agent, Veronica, Carmen makes the magic happen!
This photo shows the incredible popularity of our new computer classes!
We are looking for new or gently-used laptops. If you have one to donate, we will bring it to Nicaragua and can guarantee that your old computer will get a new lease on life and will be very loved.
Last month, we wrote that we had helped out the community of Cebadilla by purchasing 600 metres of electrical wire. Here is a photo of some of the community members, with the electrical wire. Our agent, Veronica, told us that on the day they received the wire, many people were crying tears of joy!
Wendy DeGraaf, from Nanaimo, BC, has been in San Juan del Sur for a few weeks now. She has been learning Spanish and teaching English in the new Ojochal Children's Centre. She has just shared a few great photos, documenting the time she has spent in Ojochal. They can be found under the "About Us" tab, on the page "Volunteers in Action". Here is a sneak preview!
and sometimes we do really small ones! Here is a list of what we will be working on this March :
1. The community of Genizaro received a donation of 13 computers for their school. However, they were unable to afford to pay anyone to teach the kids how to use them. The NCF has committed to paying the salary of a young man who can teach both computer skills and English.
2. The community of Cebadilla has several families without electricity and they need 600 meters of wire for the electric company. They had applied to the town of San Juan del Sur, but were turned down. The cost of the wire is 17 Cordobas per metre, which works out to less than a dollar. The whole project will cost $393.
3. Seven children in Ostional are unable to attend school because they lack shoes, school supplies and backpacks. School is free and compulsory in Nicaragua, but each child still needs to bring supplies. The NCF will cover these basic necessities.
4. Eight more children in Los Chiles and four outside Ojochal are in the same situation and we will be buying supplies and shoes for them as well.
New-Our financial statement for 2014 is now available.
We have started to fundraise for a new project. It's a small one, but important. The community of Miravalle, near San Juan del Sur, needs some help with sanitation. Specifically, they need a pump and other improvements to their water well and many families need latrines. This is not a glamourous project; there will be no new buildings. However, it will mean that there will be far fewer health problems than there are presently.
For Americans, please click here to donate:https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/a-chilly-run-for-nicaragua.
For Canadians, you can use Canada Helps, which gives an automatic tax receipt. The link is: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/pages/chillling/
There is a little community called Fatima which is far away from San Juan del Sur. This week, the children there received backpacks and supplies for school. Here is a really cute picture of them wearing their backpacks!
2015 started off with the sixth visit to San Juan del Sur by a wonderful group of people from Ontario. The members of this group refer to themselves as "retired", but they are busier than most people who are still working! Every year, this group identifies a project they would like to work on to improve the lives of the children in the areas in which the NCF works. In the past, they have bought school uniforms and supplies and done repairs to school buildings. Last year, they improved the water situation in the large town school, San Francisco, and put in a large drinking fountain. This year, their focus is on building a sun shelter at San Francisco. It's a much needed improvement to the schoolyard, where the children spend their free time, often under the relentless hot Nicaraguan sun. Seeing this need, the group set out to make a shelter for them. As well, they will also once again be helping to purchase uniforms for students. We are impressed at all the hard work needed to make this a reality and are extremely grateful to these lovely women!
Our thanks once again to Elsie Elder. On behalf of her beautiful daughter, Elisabeth (pictured above), Elsie has once again given the NCF a very sizable donation. Elisabeth passed away two years ago, but her memory stays with Elsie always. Elsie is comforted by the "furry babies" Elisabeth left behind. As parents, we are keenly aware of how difficult it must be for Elsie to be without her daughter. Elsie's donation will go toward Los Pipitos. We hope that Elsie knows that Elisabeth's spirit lives on in a little community in San Juan del Sur.
Elsie-we will always be grateful for all the help and support you've given our foundation. Mona and Allan
The annex to Los Pipitos is complete. We have a photo of it here and on our last trip we were able to see it in person. It is a beautifully finished and attractive classroom. It is actually less of an annex and more of another classroom in its own right. All it really needs now is appropriate educational materials! Luckily, Los Pipitos will soon be hosting two Canadian women who both work in this area and who will be helping us prepare and arrange the classroom. This is a very exciting turn of events!
Many thanks go to Elsie Elder who made the new classroom a reality through her very thoughtful and generous contribution which she made on behalf of her daughter, Elisabeth. Elisabeth passed away in December, 2012, but her spirit lives on here at Los Pipitos. Her photos can be seen above.
Nicaragua Community, a small online newsletter, published this on November 30, 2014:
The link below will take you to an online news site called DIPLOMATIC ASPECTS NEWSPAPER - YOUR EUROPEAN, INTERNATIONAL AND DIPLOMATIC NEWS. It is an article on organizations and people working for children in Nicaragua and it mentions the NCF! The article talks about the new preschool in Miravalle, the electricity in Ojochal and Kindness in Action. We were pretty surprised to see it!