Meet: Juan Garcia
Agros exists to restore hope and opportunity to the world’s poor. Our mission is to see rural poor families own agricultural land, attain economic-self sufficiency, realize their God-given potential, and pass on to future generations the values and resources that enable them to flourish.
Juan Garcia is 34 years old, and he and his wife Cristina have two children, Delvin and Seydin. Juan is someone who likes to be involved in the community and was for a time a member of the community board. He is humble, hard working, and has the desire to serve and support his family and small community.
Before Agros came in contact with Juan, he worked in El Tuma, Nicaragua cultivating basic grains (corn and beans). His only option for work was to rent land during the harvest season because he did not have the resources to purchase his own. When the harvest season was over, he looked for anywhere he could find work and held many positions in coffee mill production, as a pepper farm slicer, and as a farm driver. Everyday was a struggle not only to feed and clothe his family, but also to support the struggling community around him. Juan was losing hope for a sustainable future.
By God’s grace, Moises, a partner of San Jose Agro Village, approached Juan and asked if they could work together growing coffee. When he began to work with Moises he started to learn more about the project, and that through Agros he may be able to own land and attain more economic self-sufficiency. Juan begun to have new hope for a more successful life and a better future! Though the first year of harvest was rough because the there was a drought, the following year he was able to grow some crop. He is now growing upwards of 5,300 new coffee plants and also has an acre plot to grow jalapeño peppers and chiltoma peppers on the side. Juan now has more opportunity than ever to flourish and grow.
Juan is grateful for Agros because otherwise his family would not have had the resources they need to survive and the support they need economically sustain themselves. Gifts and donations to Agros have helped Juan secure a better life and more resources for his family now, and for future generations.
Spring 2013 Village Highlights
Because organization matters to community development, the community participated in the creation of proposals for economic and community wellbeing activities for the community plan of the new fiscal year. Community partners actively participated in the election of a new community board and strongly encouraged the new board members to continue working for women, children, and community wellbeing projects.
Because of the need to have an official place to conduct heath and well-being activities for the people, the community center has gone through necessary structural updates.
There has been huge progress made toward a bigger and stronger economy in this community. Through your support, Agros has led preparation of 0.35 acres of land to grow peppers, 9 acres of rice for family consumption and sale of surplus for money, and 3,052 acres of corn for food and sale of surplus. Additionally 54,000 bags of soil have been filled with coffee seedlings in preparation for 23 acres of planting and renovation.
If that is not enough, because we want this community to produce the best quality crop for their consumption and sale, we put together a diagnostic of the entire coffee parcel took place to determine the health situation of the crop.
24 families are actively involved in Growth Groups. Not only are these groups educational, but they are also building strong friendships that help motivate families to apply what they are learning, overcome obstacles, and encourage each other.
Because education is extremely important, the community has been continually working on building a School Center that will benefit the primary school students. 34 children have been enrolled in basic education, and parents in the community are supporting 7 teenagers in the secondary schools. As well, three female teenagers have received and purchased their own bicycles through Amigos por Cristo (Friends for Christ) in order to travel to school.
Education and support is being given not only to children, but to adults as well. Eleven women have attended workshops on topics ranging from domestic violence to gender relations and equality.
As far as community health and livelihood is concerned, two health promoters have also been trained to take malaria detection samples as well as been given training on the basics of nutrition and family planning by MINSA (Ministry of Health). Home visits to pregnant women were conducted, community clean-up days have been implemented, and a trash dump has been built in the community for better waste management.
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You Made a Difference for Don Justino and His Family:
Don Justino was forced to grow up quickly during the war of the 80s when he lost his right leg. Despite the handicap, Don Justino and his wife Doña Andrea have been an example of hard work, faith, and unity. Life has not been easy for Justino and Andrea. Before moving to Tierra Nueva, Andrea worked as a maid and Justino grew corn and beans on rented land to feed his family of seven. They had no land of their own and nowhere to call home. Now, in Tierra Nueva, the couple has planted basic grains, coffee, cacao, and vegetables. They hope to generate enough profit on their crops to make regular land payments and eventually become landowners.
Justino has been active in community projects, always showing up punctually for community work events. When the physical demands of the work at hand are too much for him, such as with the road construction and water project, he counts on his eldest children to lend a hand. He is proud of his family, of their land, and of the bright future in store for his children.
Thank you for your incredible support of Agros International's communities and the important work being done to help families fight to escape the effects of chronic poverty. Without your generosity, people like Don Justino and his family would not have the hope that they now have.
TIERRA NUEVA COMMUNITY ACHIEVMENTS
During this quarter new community board of directors were elected in the community, one in San Benito and one in Las 40.
A potable water committee was established to manage this important resource.
They’ve also organized commissions for the construction of the model houses and the family houses in Las 40, and commissions to guard the area where the building materials are being stored.
All the materials needed to build the first and second block of homes have been procured and are being stored in a safe location.
The families have finished preparing the land in Las 40 for home construction (leveling).
Model home construction has begun in both sectors; they will be used to teach the families how the rest of the homes are to be built.
Eighty-eight community members repaired 1.2 kilometers of access roads leading to the community
The study and financial bidding process for the road project has been completed, as well as the negotiation of the final price.
Coffee: There are 52.2 hectares of established coffee plantations, which receive fertilization and integrated pest management. In preparation to expand coffee lands by another .7 hectares, farmers are growing coffee saplings from seed.
Cacao: Currently there are 14 hectares of cacao trees being cultivated in Tierra Nueva, and 12.5 hectares are projected to be started soon by families who have already been given quality seed and bags to start growing their saplings.
Basic Grains: Beans were planted during this trimester, and Agros supported this activity by offering seeds for 21.5 hectares of beans (.7 hectares per family) and inputs for 75 families, assisting a total of 106 families. The rest of the families carried out the planting with their own money.
Vegetables: More than 131,132 tomato and jalapeño plants of different varieties have been established and commercialized providing the families with income.
Access to Markets: Eleven families participated in a workshop on access to markets and six families were trained to sell crops to Hortifruti.
Health and Wellbeing
Growth Groups: 70% of members have been participating in the growth groups, discussing subjects like communication, self esteem, goal-setting, and values.
Education: The school year recently ended and 112 students finished the school year successfully. The adult education classes have continued.
Health: 5 community health promoters engaged in a consultation with the community partner, PATH, to perform a diagnosis on community health, conduct a session to weigh children in the community under the age of 5, and administer vitamins and other anti-parasitic medications.
Agros International and the families who live in the communities we support are grateful for the critical support we receive from our donors. Agros is preparing to expand our outreach into rural communities through a regional growth project, and we could not do it without your support. Stay tuned for more information on how you can be involved! And THANK YOU for standing with these incredible families whose livelihoods depend upon the land they live on.
Since 1998, Agros has been working in Nicaragua, bringing life change and development to the rural poor. Our team comprises 19 people, and we are each committed to Agros and the 267 families we serve in our country.
We continue to strengthen our strategic alliances with other agencies in the area, establishing commercial relationships in order to increase the families’ incomes through productive initiatives. We also continue encouraging the women to become more involved with organizational and social activities and productive projects through community banks.
Together, our partner families are cultivating a total of 77 acres of coffee. They are also producing a variety of vegetables. Their knowledge is steadily increasing about farming techniques, and as a result, their crops are improving both in quantity and quality.
In personal development, our families are participating in Growth Groups, small groups in which they share their hopes, dreams, successes and setbacks; encourage each other; offer friendly advice; and build strong relationships. Also, our partnership with the Ministry of Health continues to provide important training to our families on such topics as hygiene, nutrition, family planning and gender equality. We are also pleased to report that we have a 95% retention rate among our communities’ children and youth who are attending school.
During this next fiscal year, with the help of faithful friends like you, we will continue to promote our families’ personal and economic growth, helping them achieve their great goal of owning land and forever escaping poverty. Thank you for caring for Nicaragua’s rural poor through Agros!