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We Care in Nicaragua

June 23, 2015 No Comment
Children in Nicaragua celebrate after receiving gifts through CLWR's We Care program.

Children in Nicaragua celebrate after receiving gifts through CLWR’s We Care program.

NICARAGUA – Canadian Lutheran World Relief’s (CLWR) “We Care” Program Coordinator Patrick Stewart recently participated in the distribution of the recent commodities shipment to Nicaragua, where CLWR works in partnership with Lutheran Church–Canada and the Iglesia Luterano Sinodo de Nicaragua (ILSN). Having the opportunity to visit with the mission staff and community members he offers this report:

From 2010 to present, CLWR has dispatched three shipments to the ILSN, representing nearly $200,000 in material aid to support the mission’s transformative work amongst some of Nicaragua’s poorest communities. Dedication, transparency, trust and mutual respect are attributes we look for in long-term partnerships, and as the many Canadians that have visited the mission centre in Chinandega can attest we have found that in our relationship with the ILSN. It was with great joy and anticipation that in March 2015 I was able to travel to Nicaragua and see first hand some of the tremendous work taking place.

After Haiti, Nicaragua is widely considered to be the poorest country in the western hemisphere, but it is also renowned for its friendly people and as a safe destination for travellers. Accompanied by representatives from the mission (both lay staff and pastors) I was able to visit a dozen communities across the country, distributing We Care kits and quilts, and interacting with teachers, students, parents and healthcare workers, listening to their stories as well as delivering the warm wishes and prayers of the thousands of Canadians that contributed to our most recent shipment.

Donations received by CLWR have provided scholarships to hundreds of children.

Donations received by CLWR have provided scholarships to hundreds of children.

 

 

 

One of the mission’s main areas of focus is sponsoring the primary education of hundreds of young Nicaraguan children. From remote villages to medium sized cities ILSN provides salaries for teachers, uniforms for students and through your support Learning and Living kits too. Despite their challenging circumstances many of the children dream of one day growing up to become doctor’s, baseball stars, firemen and teachers. It was inspiring to meet them along with their parents that have worked so hard to afford them the opportunities they can.

 

 

We also met with healthcare workers and discussed what challenges and opportunities might be addressed through future shipments. Our first shipment to Nicaragua had in fact included a significant amount of dental equipment that is still utilized by the mission’s onsite clinic. Often under resourced local healthcare providers noted respiratory ailments amongst agricultural labourers (related to pesticide use) as well as teenage pregnancy as being prevalent issues.

It was gratifying to at long last meet the dedicated staff of ILSN that we have worked so closely with over the years, and the children and families that are so thankful for your support. At times it was emotionally overwhelming to visit communities where poverty is so pervasive and severe, but sorrow quickly turned to hope and distress to admiration as I met many wonderful teachers, pastors and families that are tirelessly striving to build stronger, safer and more prosperous communities.

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Discussions are already underway for our next shipment, which will hopefully include an assortment of goods that were identified as being in short supply. Your support is making a real difference in Nicaragua, and there is a tremendous amount of hope and optimism for what the future might hold.

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