Archive for February, 2014

Keeping it Flowing

We believe in empowering leaders to be the change they want to see in their own communities.


In this video, Jeremy explains how our Water Team realized that vision by investing in our community water committees during a special day-long event at the Amigos Complex.

Partnering Up

If you’ve been around Amigos for more than a day or two, you’ve probably noticed we love the word “partner.” We use it all the time to describe, well, just about everyone, from our big governmental partners here in Nicaragua, to our friends in the communities, to you, our supporters.

 

Why, you ask? Because we believe that by creating partners instead of simply donors or beneficiaries, the impact of our programs will multiply far beyond anything we could do on our own.

 

reunion de organizacion Chuscada (15)

The Education Team leads a Consejera de Familia training class in La Chuscada.

 

Take Consejera de Familia, or Family Counselor Training, a new program designed by our Education Team to empower women in communities to lead small group studies on faith and family values. The small groups cover topics ranging from fostering respectful relationships, to proper nutrition, to steps parents can take to support their children’s education, all supported by a biblical worldview.

 

Our first Consejera de Familia class, composed of seventeen women from La Chuscada, celebrated its graduation just a few weeks ago. The celebration marked the completion of eight weeks of intensive training in both faith and family values as well as techniques for facilitating small group discussion and conducting follow-up visits with individual families. Now, instead of relying on the Education Team to lead small groups for all 130 families in La Chuscada, there is a network of women who are fully equipped to lead small groups in their own neighborhoods.

 

La Chuscada Promocion de la red de familia (81)

La Chuscada’s first Consejera de Familia training class celebrates its graduation.

 

“If someone from Amigos for Christ can’t come, we don’t want them to be unable to continue the program,” explains Gloria, our Director of Project Impact. “It is important to train community leaders because it allows programs to be sustainable, and we are giving them all the tools they need to make that possible.”

 

After all, we’ve always believed in the power of each individual to create positive change not only in their own life, but also in the lives of their family and community. Now, through Consejera de Familia, we’re building partnerships that empower more women to make that happen.

 

To learn more about our Education Team, visit www.amigosforchrist.org/projects/education-and-nutrition.

All You Have To Do is Ask

For Amanda Burgess, longtime Amigos mission-tripper and Health Team intern in the spring of 2013, it started with a visit to conduct a health survey in the community of Mina de Agua. “When we were surveying, we came across a sweet little boy and his friend who both had distended bellies and no shoes. There were very obvious environmental risk factors that led us to believe parasites were the cause,” explained Amanda.

 

So she decided to ask what she could do. “Reyna [Amigos Health Team Director] told me that when I went home I should collect shoes for the kids in Mina to help with this obvious public health problem, and I agreed that I would try!”

 

And, she did. Once Amanda got back home to Lake Zurich, Illinois, she asked the Vacation Bible School committee at Peace Lutheran Church, where she is a member, if they would be willing to sponsor a shoe drive over the course of the VBS week. “The committee was really excited, and I started designing flyers and working on collecting information to share about Mina de Agua,” Amanda recalls. “I spoke a few times to just the kids and to the parents throughout the week sharing my experiences in Mina de Agua and answering questions about how shoes would solve this problem there.”

 

Within two days, the church members had donated 75 shoes; by the end of the week, the total was over 130. “My expectations were exceeded by so much,” Amanda said. “We had also collected monetary donations to cover shipping costs, which ended up being the exact amount I needed to ship the boxes!”

 

Once that shipment made it down here to Chinandega, the Health Team got busy contacting families in Mina de Agua and organizing a fun activity to go along with the shoe distribution. In particular, the program focused on educating children about the importance of wearing shoes to prevent parasites from entering their bodies through the soles of their bare feet. “Instead of just giving kids shoes, it’s important to teach them why we’re were giving it to them and how wearing a pair of shoes would make them healthier,” explained Amigos nurse Annie Bland.

 

Amigos nurse Maria Conchita leads an educational activity for the children in Mina de Agua.

Amigos nurse Maria Conchita leads an educational activity for the children in Mina de Agua.

 

In one day, the team distributed 49 pairs of shoes to children under the age of 12, and the Health Team has plans to distribute the rest of the shoes to children in the El Moto and Las Brisas communities. “My favorite part was seeing babies that were just around that walking age wearing their new flip flops, because you’re teaching healthier habits at a younger age,” continued Annie.

 

Amigos Health Team Director Reyna fits a child in Mina de Agua with a new pair of shoes.

Amigos Health Team Director Reyna fits a child in Mina de Agua with a new pair of shoes.

 

Here at Amigos, we’re incredibly thankful for Amanda’s commitment to meeting the needs of our friends in Mina de Agua. Not sure what you could do to help? All you have to do is ask.

 

Children in Mina de Agua show off their new shoes.

Children in Mina de Agua show off their new shoes.


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