Excitement was in the air as women from across the country gathered at our central office in Managua to attend a two day craft training. Together, we learned how to make different styles of bracelets, necklaces, and earrings. Through songs, prayers, and laughter, we wove bracelets while weaving brighter futures. Women in Nicaragua are the […]
This Christmas I want to invite you into a special place, the home of Mirna Espinoza. I want you to come and sit at her table and listen to her story. As you step into Mirna’s house you will see dirt floors, a curtain covering a doorway where the whole family sleeps and a makeshift […]
Isidria is a mother of four children who lives about an hour outside of Managua. Thanks to your support she is now better supporting her family through craft training and a family garden she has planted. Despite higher food prices because of the crisis she has hope and is able to feed her family with the sale of crafts and the produce from their garden.
Eusebia is a mother of 3 children. She lives in the town of La Joya, Nicaragua, which is located approximately 16 miles from the nearest town of Teustepe.
Eusebia has participated in CEPAD’s family gardens program where she has learned to grow a small garden next to her home.
Come in to see our chancha!” Oscar and his older brother Witer ran ahead of us as their mother excitedly invited us into their house to see their large pig which had recently given birth to 12 piglets.
We followed, expecting to walk out the back door after entering the house, but the two brothers turned into the small, smoke-filled kitchen. There she was, their pride and joy, snout to the hard dirt floor, hunting for food with her 12 little pink piglets.
For Sugeyli, this family of pigs living in her kitchen eases her worry about her sons not having enough to eat. These pigs give her hope for their future.
Despite only having studied through sixth grade and with few resources for her 4 children, you give Juana Figueroa great hope for the future. She is involved in CEPAD’s community banking program and is the President of her village’s Community Development Committee. She has already benefitted from your support of CEPAD’s patio gardens and is now growing fruits and vegetables.
CEPAD: Can you tell us about yourself?
Juana Figueroa: I work on the farm with my husband, we rent two manzanas to grow corn and beans. We also grow oranges, mangoes and malanga on our patio at home.
CEPAD: Tell us about your children. I heard you have a 15-year-old daughter in high school and a 5-year-old in preschool. Do you have any others?
Women in rural Nicaraguan communities have many skills, including sewing, cooking and more. With CEPAD’s community bank program, they learn to turn those skills into businesses so they can make money for their families.
For many this will be the first time they have earned money for their families and represents a transformational shift in their self-esteem.
CEPAD is working with 35 women from seven villages near Matagalpa, to set up a new community bank in each village. CEPAD funds the bank, and the women run it to ensure accountability and a productive use of the funds. The goal is for every member of the bank to start a small business, such as selling food, tailoring clothes, or setting up a small store to sell household goods.
Each woman starts with a small loan, between $20 and $100, and pays it back over four months. With time, the size of the loans will increase to match the capacity of her business. Read more
“Before CEPAD came, I didn’t even have this chair to sit on, “ said Carmen Acuña, patting the arm of her wooden rocker.
Now, Acuña runs a small convenience store and leads a cooperative bank for the women in her community, Cañas Blancas, and the surrounding areas. CEPAD provides credit for women so they can make investments to improve their economic circumstances. Carmen, a grandmother who is diabetic, earned enough from the store last year to get treatment for a serious illness while still helping with her family’s finances.
“No banks will lend to people in this community, CEPAD is the only one,” she said. “I am so thankful CEPAD took a chance on us, it helped keep me alive and so I could keep my family alive.”
CEPAD relies on support from partners to provide the initial funds for the loan programs in the communities. An investment of $3,500 provided the intitial capital so that 14 women in the Carazo region could drastically improve life for their families. Your gift can make that difference for women in other communities.
The loan program helps strengthen women’s opportunities in their families and communities as well, said Carolina Estrada Sandino, another one of the bank’s founders.
“A lot of times, the men don’t see women as competent to do anything but be at home,” Carolina said. “But now, my husband supports me in my business and there is more motivation to work together as a family.”
The program makes an especially big difference for the many women in rural Nicaragua who are single moms. These women often have to seek work outside the city and leave their children with relatives or neighbors. The opportunity to start a small business means women can better support their families and keep resources in the local economy.
Carmen said she thanks God every day for CEPAD and the opportunity to start her store. We at CEPAD are thankful every day for partners like you who make our work possible!
Rachel and I visited Nicaragua in January and spent two weeks learning about CEPAD’s work empowering small farmers and improving food security through sustainable agriculture training. During our time with CEPAD, we stayed at homestays with farmers who have participated in CEPAD agricultural trainings. We stayed on two farms – one was with a family that had been the first Community Agricultural Promoters in the community, and the other was in the earlier stages of working with CEPAD to improve their food security and nutrition.Community Agricultural Promoters work with disciples in their communities in order to teach others about organic, sustainable agriculture techniques in order to improve crop yields and water efficiency as well as increase food security within the farmer’s homes.