Interested in connecting with an impressive group of women with a proven track record for making a difference?
World Vision does a lot of great work in Nicaragua. We have seen the signs on many infrastructure projects including schools and water systems. But they also invest in people - and have done so successfully with a group of women who call themselves "The Self Group of el Triunfo". With an introduction from our friends at Seeds of Learning, we recently met with six members of the Self Help Group to learn about their vision for the community.
Many of the men of el Triunfo commute daily to minimum wage manufacturing jobs in the free trade zones outside Managua. Left on their own, we learned that these woman have stepped forward to lead a number of community initiatives including:
1) Funding and building a learning resource centre (shown in the picture above). They now take turns running educational programs daily at the centre.
2) Creating a managing a very successful micro-loan program for members of the local community. Loans of up to $150 are made to community members who submit loan applications. The criteria for acceptance are feasibility of the business plan, repayment history, and value of the activity to the community. Unlike many other micro loan programs they have a 100% repayment history. That is remarkable!
When we asked the team about their future plans for the community they acknowledged that their needs are many, but would like to focus some attention on women's health and empowerment. Longer term, they envision building a community hall and potentially sleeping accommodation for visiting service groups. This could provide an additional source of much needed income to help fund future community projects and make their community attractive to NGOs, like Seeds of Learning, who sponsor service trips.
This strikes us as a group who will be successful in whatever they collectively decide to do. If you are interested in working with an inspiring group of women with a passion to make their community a better place, we encourage you to pledge your support to the Self Help Group of el Triunfo.