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Apr 30, 2020

Why a popular optic of the Ruach Fundacion?

our  dream
our dream

Juigalpa, Chontales

Since 4 years we started the Ruach fundacion to give a worthwhile life to persons with a intellectual disability. We are operated in Juigalpa, Nicaragua.

Not so many years ago, to be a person with disabilities in Nicaragua meant a lifetime of suffering in silence. Often people with disabilities were hidden away from society as they were almost regarded as “less than human beings” that brought shame to the family. Consequently, very few support programs existed to help families to cope with disability.

We need to generate income for the Ruach Foundation (workshops, office, home) to finance its social programs, being an economic alternative for self-sustainability for the RUACH foundation. Becasasuse of that we made a market study and made a proyect to start a popular optics in Juigalpa.

Why Juigalpa?

To open the optic in Juigalpa is because it has 79,581 inhabitants in the city, this is a positive stimulus that reveals a favourable investment. In addition, currently the city of Juigalpa, located northwest of the department of Chontales, in the central region of Nicaragua, has rapid demographic and possibilities of economic growth.

Another reason for this selection is that the department of Chontales includes most of the municipalities with the highest concentration of inhabitants, being these 10 municipalities (Juigalpa, Santo Tomas, Acoyapa, Comalapa, Cuapa, Villa Sandino, La Libertad, Santo Domingo, San Pedro de Lóvago and El Coral). 

 Juigalpa is a city that functions as an intersection of departmental and municipal road communication, connecting the municipalities of New Guinea, El Rama, Muelle de los Bueyes and El Ayote through land. It also connects the department of Rio San Juan and the entire department of Chontales with the department of Boaco and Managua. Besides, this city is an important transit point that interconnects the Autonomous Region of the South Caribbean Coast, and is therefore immersed in a large commercial movement, both internal and external, that provides easy mobilization.

 All of the above has contributed to the increase in demand for diverse products, mainly health related like the need to wear glasses to improve visual conditions. This constitutes an investment opportunity in the services market.

 Market research

According to studies conducted by the administrative team of the Foundation RUACH for people with disabilities, in five municipalities (Boaco, Santo Tomas, San Carlos, Rama and New Guinea) in four departments of the country (Boaco, Chontales, Rio San Juan and RACCS), it was verified that 96% are interested, willing and available to purchase lenses in an optician that offers affordable prices, wide variety of frames and lenses according to the needs of customers, vision screenings, among other services that mainly benefit the most disadvantaged.

What havve we done untill now?

We made the proyect in Spanish and English. We looked for people where to send it to, we gave a copy to people near by. We ar sowing and waiting that our effort will be rewarded. Every tip where to send it to, and what to do more, please let us know.

Together we can make a difference. We show it with our social work!

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Apr 7, 2020

Nicaragua in times of COVID-19

one of our coremembers, Daniel
one of our coremembers, Daniel

Since last week Nicaragua also has been living under the spell of the corona virus after the independent press rang the alarm bell. The Government responded by issuing regular updates on the virus. The Vice-President gives her daily talk about the situation.

The Government wants to control all news about the virus. Health workers cannot ‘just like that’ talk to patients about the virus for fear that this will fuel mass hysteria. We have got a Government that through their  actions has made it abundantly clear that they knows best what is good for the people, and they do not take the people seriously. Yes, the vice-president does announce rules and regulations, but it seems these are often a phase behind the reality. For example, when last week the first cases of the virus were recorded, the Government started a door-to-door information campaign about how to avoid catching the virus.

Private schools are now closed, but continue working online. The public schools continue as usual, except that some parents keep their children at home, much to the dismay of the school management, who warned that pupils would suffer negative consequences if they did not sit for their test-papers.

How many corona cases do we have in Nicaragua? We know the official figures: 2 deaths; 3 cases, and possibly another 12. But few people believe these figures. Health personnel are duty-bound to keep silent. According to informal sources there are corona cases in Juigalpa. Everything is possible, we just don’t know.

Many Nicaraguans have relatives living abroad, especially in Spain, the USA and in Italy, and of course news from these countries filters through and is, according to me, the main reason why the streets in most towns in Nicaragua are very quiet and many shops are closed. But people who work for the State are supposed to keep going with their usual activities.

An embarrassing invitation
The Government likes to pretend that all is normal and they do not take measures to make people stay at home, in fact they encourage quite the opposite! Today we were visited by two employees of the Ministry of Small Enterprises to promote the Government’s initiative to have a street market on 4 April in the very centre of Juigalpa for products made by people with disabilities.  The event would also be a competition with a prize for the person who could make the most beautiful product. In the past. members of Ruach’s Activities Centre joined similar events,  selling piñatas.

Ruach’s response

I checked with the gentlemen of the Ministry of Small Enterprises whether, given the corona crisis, they would consider postponing the street market, but as the plan came from Managua the local Government has to implement the plan. I thanked them for the kind invitation and said I would discuss it with the president of the Ruach Foundation, although it was obvious to me what our answer was going to be. But in a non-democratic country like Nicaragua people (government employees and citizens alike) cannot openly oppose government policies.

Recession
Today I called Anelka to cancel our regular Wednesday outing for our residents to the swimming pool as we will keep our residents at home for the time being. Anielka has got a long-distance coach business, but also helps us with transport to the pool on Wednesdays. I asked her how her business was faring. She answered that she had not experienced a recession of this depth for many years; almost no one travels these days’.

Fundación Ruach
Last week we also decided to close our Activities Centre till further notice. The Board also issued official guidelines on how to deal with the corona crisis which also affects how we live in the community home.
One of our rules is that we no longer allow visitors to enter our Community Home, but have set up a terrace in front of our Home instead. We keep more distance from each other, especially at the dining room table. Tooth brushes are stored separately. Staff change shirts when they come in from outside. I  no longer shake hands anymore, but wave my elbow which is a clear sign that we take prevention seriously. And I have reduced my activities outside the Home to a minimum.

A time of opportunity and creativity
But we do not want this crisis period to be a period of restrictions only. It is a chance to think creatively about how else we can celebrate our community life. We have turned our swimming pool morning into a dance morning at home. We still had some spare bottles of coca cola from our last visits to the pool, which now come in handy to be enjoyed after our dancing.

I have got more time now to put the dots on the ‘i’s  of activities to stimulate our residents and it’s great to see that based on our experience small changes can have big results for both the development of our residents and the training of our staff.

But the fact remains that these are challenging times. Nelson Mandela once said in reply to a question how he had been able to survive 27 years on Robben island: “I did not survive, I learned”  Let us use this COVID-19 period to learn new things and to push our boundaries. Together we can make the world a more beautiful place!

an other coremember
an other coremember
Loyda, in  shirt, with  logo and key message
Loyda, in shirt, with logo and key message

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Mar 2, 2020

An outing to the sea

ready to go
ready to go

Everything seems in order at the last check. Everyone has got their own rucsac for the day. These gift-rucsacs come into their own today. They were donated by the people of the Pompe in the Netherlands last summer, and appreciated – except that Jonathan didn’t like the addition of a name tag on his bag and took it off straight away!

We waited for the mini-bus. ´We´ means all residents and regular day staff of the community home. Our night shift staff were not able to join the outing, but we were delighted that our staff members doña Mayra could bring her son, Carmen her daughter and Ana her sister. By way of a joint-effort raffle campaign we raised enough money to cover the entire cost of the outing the transport (by our standards the cost of renting a minibus for 5.000 cordobas (= $ 150,- US) is a lot.), drinks on the way and buying food (cooking it at home). And we were proud of it because we did it together as workers of the community home. 

The beach
The mini-bus arrived at 7 am. We quickly loaded up and were off for our journey to Masachapa, the nearest beach to Juigalpa, but nonetheless a 4-hour drive. We arrived at the beach around 11 am after a brief sanitary stop on the way. We did not need to search for the best stretch of beach: the sea at the nearest beach was calm and shallow and had a pleasant temperature. The pictures show how much everyone enjoyed it.

The beach was very quiet; we could not even find a restaurant open for business. Tourism has drastically declined since the socio-political crisis which started in April 2018. Fortunately we found a ‘senora’ who was willing to rent to us chairs, tables and a sun shade made with supporting poles and palm leaves for a fair price, so we could enjoy the lunch, cooked by doña Mayra at home, in all comfort. As icing on the cake we finished off our lunch with an ice cream bought from a local seller.

Blow-out tyre on the way back
We started the return journey around 5 pm in order to avoid the rush hour in Managua. Our aim was to be back not much after 8 pm, which for most of us is bedtime. But our mini-bus had a blow-out. Fortunately the driver had a spare wheel and everything else needed to replace the burst tyre. We enjoyed our supper while he fixed the tyre, but of course it took time, and in the end we did not get home till 10 pm. Everyone was still in a good mood after having enjoyed this day ‘with a golden edge.’

Surprise
The day became even more special when we met the owner of the mini-bus who insisted that lending her vehicle to us was her contribution to the outing! Together we are able to create beautiful events and memories. Of course  we will be able to have more of these kinds of experiences next year, and share it with you, who feel yourself part of our team!

transport
transport
protected and comfortable
protected and comfortable
relaxing
relaxing

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