“CEPAD was founded just after the earthquake on the 23rd of December of 1972. When the Baptist Convention, where I was Promoter of the Social Assistance Commission, realized the great needs of the people in Managua we felt it was necessary to help people with housing, food and everything else they needed.” -Dr. Gustavo Parajon, founder of CEPAD
Representatives from eight denominations were present on the 27th of December, 1972 and responded to this call that Gustavo Parajon made through the only functioning radio station in Managua.
That is how this big adventure in faith was started, but from 1972 to 1979 CEPAD shifted from emergency work to development work while continuing to provide emergency response as was needed. CEPAD responded in the eruption of Volcano Arenal in 1973, Hurricane Fifi in Honduras in 1974, the Guatemalan earthquake of 1976, and many more.
The 1980’s and the 1990’s were the most challenging years of CEPAD’s history. There was a lot of instability in the country due to the national movement to overthrow the Somoza dictatorship. There were many obstacles to overcome: the war of liberation, displaced people and populations, the military inscription, the literacy campaign and work for peace and reconciliation. In addition, CEPAD worked to foster dialogue between the government authorities to create peace in Nicaragua, especially in Nueva Guinea where the work of the peace commissions was very valuable. CEPAD also formed part of the Reconciliation Commission with the Moravian Church to help YATAMA (an indigenous political group on the Atlantic Coast) reintegrate into civil life. Because of CEPAD’s hard work, they were asked by the Organization of American States to be part of the disarmament process in Jinotega (a Nicaraguan region).
CEPAD currently works in programs of sustainable agriculture, economic development for women, psychosocial attention, community organization and training, strengthening of pastoral leadership, exchanges between delegations and partnerships, grade school and high school education. In addition, the organization runs a Christian Radio station and attends to immigration and refugees from other countries who are traveling through Nicaragua.
During these 45 years, CEPAD has walked alongside more than 4,000 communities in every department of the country.
With the help of God, we will continue.