It’s hard to remember quite how tough things were in Santa Maria five years ago, said community leader Antonio Hernandez. They lacked electricity and water, and the condition of the road made it impossible for vehicles like ambulances to enter.
Life is different now. When CEPAD arrived in Santa Maria, they formed a Community Development Committee to seek support from the local government and NGOs. After CEPAD’s training, they began work to make their infrastructure goals a reality.
“We had been trying for three years to get electricity here and couldn’t get answers from the government,” Antonio said. “One year after CEPAD came, the project was underway. In 2013, we turned the lights on for the first time.”
This change has rippled around the village. Once Maria Ramirez got electricity at home, she saved money to buy a refrigerator and now she has a business to sell ice creams and cold drinks.
“It’s a little money that goes a long way for us,” Maria said. “Plus, now I don’t have to carry water to my house. I can just turn on the electric water pump.”
Leaders have also repaired the school, improved the road and installed a public well in the outskirts of the village that don’t yet have electricity.
“Bit by bit, we are making changes to get out of extreme poverty,” Antonio said. “Our next goal is to have cleaner water.”
Your support for community leadership development means your investment goes even farther — the village achieves its goals and has skills to pursue others they haven’t even thought of before. In 2014 alone, you made miracles happen. Villages completed 24 successful projects such as repairing roads, building roofs and distributing emergency food supplies. No matter what 2015 brings, thanks to your support, people in 42 Nicaraguan villages have the tools to be ready for anything.