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“The greatest impact on my family has been an awakening; an understanding of managing community projects; being part of small businesses in my community; relating to people from other communities.” Karin Joseph shares the story of one member of a rural community in Teustepe, Nicaragua, supported by Amos Trust.
Stories of Hope
Doing Hope in... Nicaragua
Find out more about CEPAD here.
Elicenia, 40, lives in the San Diego community in the Teustepe region of Nicaragua.
San Diego is one of the seven communities that are part of CEPAD’s current 5-year community development programme, supported by Amos Trust. Elicenia has three children. In 2020, Elicenia attended an event where she heard about the work of CEPAD. Later that month when CEPAD staff visited her community, she responded immediately to the invitation to get involved in their activities.
Community: San Diego is one of the seven communities that are part of CEPAD’s current 5-year community development programme, supported by Amos Trust.
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“I had always liked the idea of being part of a group that supports the community, but because of our poverty, I couldn’t get involved in anything before”, she explains. But when CEPAD’s team explained their programmes, Elicenia was motivated to apply for their small business skills programme. As part of the training, she received a small seed fund from which she started her own grocery business. Elicenia now sells tomatoes, squashes, sweet and hot peppers, and watermelon.
“I had always liked the idea of being part of a group that supports the community, but because of our poverty, I couldn’t get involved in anything before.” Elicenia, San Diego, community in Teustepe, Nicaragua
However, in 2022, Hurricane Julia devastated Elicenia’s dreams. “Hurricane Julia was a phenomenon that wanted to end my joys, my dreams as it passed through Nicaragua. My community was heavily affected. It destroyed my small business and my humble house. But thank God and the support of the local CEPAD team and their demonstration of love for us, I have risen.”
Through the friendships Elicenia had made on CEPAD’s training programme, she was able to ask for help from the other participants and community members. They rallied around and supported her and despite losing her crops, she began to plant again. They provided space on their own land for her to plant the seeds she had been given by CEPAD and enabled her to access irrigation.
Solidarity: CEPAD provided seeds, and community members shared their land and irrigation access after the hurricane.
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“Hurricane Julia did destroy things for me, but it allowed me to put into practice my knowledge acquired from CEPAD,” says Elicenia. “I have learnt to grow and eat vegetables that I had never known or seen before. I have learned how to prepare watermelon jellies, and tomato salads, to better feed our children. I have learnt how to create organic fertilisers, build barriers to prevent water loss, and much more.”
They rallied around and supported her and despite losing her crops, she began to plant again. They provided space on their own land for her to plant the seeds she had been given by CEPAD and enabled her to access irrigation.
Today, Elicenia sells her produce to her local San Diego community, and because her prices are affordable and lower than those in the markets in Tuestepe, she sells out each day. Elicenia’s business is giving back to her small community in all kinds of ways. Thanks to her affordable and healthy produce she is helping to improve the nutrition of 45 local schoolchildren with fruits and vegetables.
She has also noticed a change in the culture of her community. Since CEPAD’s training, in only a short time, she has seen more members of the community innovating with alternative crops as they deal with a changing climate. And she is now looking forward to the future. Her plot has enabled her to provide a healthy diet for herself and her children, to pay for essential medicines for her family and save money to develop her business.
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Photography: Clive Horsman
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