Improve the Rights of Disabled Adults in Nicaragua

by Fundacion Cristiana Comunitaria para Personas con Discapacidad Ruach
Improve the Rights of Disabled Adults in Nicaragua
Improve the Rights of Disabled Adults in Nicaragua
Improve the Rights of Disabled Adults in Nicaragua
Improve the Rights of Disabled Adults in Nicaragua
Improve the Rights of Disabled Adults in Nicaragua
Improve the Rights of Disabled Adults in Nicaragua
Improve the Rights of Disabled Adults in Nicaragua
Improve the Rights of Disabled Adults in Nicaragua
Improve the Rights of Disabled Adults in Nicaragua
Improve the Rights of Disabled Adults in Nicaragua
Improve the Rights of Disabled Adults in Nicaragua
Improve the Rights of Disabled Adults in Nicaragua
Improve the Rights of Disabled Adults in Nicaragua
Improve the Rights of Disabled Adults in Nicaragua
Improve the Rights of Disabled Adults in Nicaragua
Improve the Rights of Disabled Adults in Nicaragua
Improve the Rights of Disabled Adults in Nicaragua
Improve the Rights of Disabled Adults in Nicaragua
Improve the Rights of Disabled Adults in Nicaragua
Improve the Rights of Disabled Adults in Nicaragua
Loyda 5 yeas ago
Loyda 5 yeas ago

The start of the Fundacion Ruach

A lot happened in August, not in the least the 5th anniversary of the Ruach Community on 26th August. Five years is not just a number. For Ruach 5 years is very significant as it was for 5 years that Ruach’s mother foundation in the Netherlands, Vivir Juntos, promised financial support to help Astrid Delleman, (Ruach’s coordinator of its Community Home and all other related work), establish the Ruach Foundation as a fully fledged independent organisation. Vivir Juntos has lived up to its promise and has also agreed to continue its help for some more time. The big a mission for the Ruach Foundation is to achieve the growth to the point where it can raise the necessary funding nationally and locally.

What has the community home added to the core members (6) who live there? A little history to see how the lives of Daniel and Loyda (brother and sister) were transformed by joining the Ruach community 5 years ago.

Daniel and Loyda: then and now

One way of measuring ‘success’ is to simply look at brother Daniel and sister Loyda who were the 2nd and 3rd core members who joined the Community from its start 5 years ago; (my son Jonathan was the first). Here is a picture of Daniel and Loyda before they joined the community. They were living on the floor of a shed behind their house away from the prying eyes of society, with a poor family who did not know how to cope with the intellectual disability of these two. They were just about kept alive by not very nutritious food which was brought to them in the shed, but with lack of everything else which humans need to be alive. They were deeply turned inside themselves when they arrived: emaciated, not toilet-trained, almost the living dead. Progress was slow, but progress there was. I still remembers clearly the moment Loyda gave me a smile for the 1st time only after several years. Now they are loved members of the group and enjoy being part of the life of the community, including trips to the swimming pool or occasionally the beach.

To see how the other core members are doing

A video which was prepared for the 5th anniversary. The video is about the lives of the core members in the community. Besides Daniel and Loyda, they are Jonathan, Miguel, Maria Helena and Manuel. It’s well worth a watch to find out what makes each of them tick, most of the time fairly happily! In itself is proof of the success of the our work. The link to the video is https://youtu.be/BOfP1AtWKwo

GlobalGiving and the Fundacion Ruach

Partners of GlobalGiving are asked to renew their due diligence every two years to keep the records current, and to give donors confidence that we are doing great work in our community. Because of due diligence expiration of the Fundacion in December, it is not sure that we will be able to receive funds using the GlobalGiving platform after wards.

In Nicaragua, every year NGOs need to submit documentation to the government agency ' Gobernacion'. If a submission is approved the NGO has the right to exist for another year. With a new more stringent law last year to control any foreign interference it has become more and more difficult for Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to function in Nicaragua. With Presidential Elections later this year, the Government keeps an ever-closer eye on the activities of NGOs, and wants to control any foreign interference in the elections. Many NGO's, 100% or partly depend on funding from abroad.

We started on time the procedure. Now we are in October and we are still waiting for the approval by Gobernacion. Because we still have not the approval like we explained just above, we cannot renew due diligence for the moment. We appreciate, you feel yourself part of the team. We will let you know as soon as possible how the procedure is going. If you have questions you can mail me directly: asjedel@hotmail.com

Gratefully yours,
Astrid Delleman

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In November we were approached by a (foreign) friend who has contacts with Ark communities in France. He asked if we were interested in having a letter exchange with participants of a workshop of one of the Ark communities in Paris. Of course we would! And thus we got in touch with Julie, who leads the workshop there, and the workshop’s participants.

 Julie's idea was to send real ‘snail mail’ letters to each other. But as international mail traffic to and from Nicaragua is hampered by a limited number of flights due to the corona virus and controls on landing rights enforced by the Nicaragua Government, we opted for an exchange by email instead.

 The Paris workshop has been in operation much longer than ours and produces very professional items in our eyes. But that is not what matters. It is all about an exchange of what life is about: the weather (cold, heat); restrictions imposed by the corona virus (none in Nicaragua, plenty in Paris); about Christmas customs and everyday life. The letters are largely filled with photos because our participants respond better to pictures than they do to words. We do include short messages and a greeting. And we write it in English to avoid the language problems posed by Spanish and French.

Not all of our participants realize what ‘correspondence’ is, but they like the pictures and enjoy the exchange in their own way. Other participants are pleased to know that they have friends in other parts of the world. We hope it will be a long-term contact!

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leaving the activity club
leaving the activity club

This year my son Jonathan and I could not visit Daniella in Guayaquil Ecuador, as we usually do at this time of the year. There were hardly any flights to and from Nicaragua. And with additional corona virus measures in place, travelling with Jonathan, challenging due to his limitations and autism at the best of times, would be an even more obstacle-filled journey. For us to have a break, we had to choose an alternative.

Our Finnish friend and her (Nicaraguan) husband have a beach house about two hours from Managua, which we were welcome to use. It suited us well. The beach was nearly deserted with only a few local residents passing by. From our house I could watch Jonathan sitting in the sea. For one week we were in a different world: enjoying the peace, the beach, the vast starry sky; reading; and of course being in the sea. And as we did not have internet access all the time, I was able to keep in touch without being too busy with work. A relaxing holiday!

 Activities club
At home in Juigalpa, the normal activities in the community house and at the activity club continued. Of course I had made the necessary preparations as well as I could, but you cannot plan for the unexpected. For example, Ingrid, the manager of the activities club, told me two days before my vacation that she was going to leave her job because she had been offered a full-time job elsewhere. Good for her, but it was a pity for us, because I was very satisfied with her performance. It also left us with the problem of getting a successor as soon as possible. Ingrid helped searching and I had some ideas. So the day after I left two apparently suitable candidates were interviewed. Our preferred candidate accepted the job and was able to be trained by Ingrid on the job the following week. It was also a new experience for Scarleth, my right-hand woman in the community house, to lead the interview process with the Chairperson of the Ruach Fundación. Experiences like this help her grow professionally and prepare her for taking on other challenges.

Community home

In the community home we also have a vacancy for a live-in home care assistant. This is an important person because as a precaution we always need two care takers in the Home at night. Because of my absence I had to look for creative solutions. We only have one experienced night help; the second one has only just started. I also could call on our third person, a volunteer who helps out in emergencies. But more people are needed to cover all night shifts for a longer period. In the end everything worked out OK because of a friend of mine who has known the core members of the Community for years.

Lessons learned

It was good I had to take a step back and was out of the picture for a while. It helped my colleagues to feel more responsible for how things are going in the Home. It is clear that they have enough skill to keep everything running. They can make still more progress by becoming more analytical and more alert to what is happening and how they respond to situations, which will improve the quality of their work even further.

PS: On 30th January we had interviews to fill the vacancy for a live-in home care assistant, and we found a suitable candidate, who was going to start her trial period on 1 February. We were full of anticipation, but unfortunately the candidate did not show up on the day. Not quite unusefull in Nicaragua...

my friend helping at night
my friend helping at night
Jonathan
Jonathan

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visit to the swimmingpool
visit to the swimmingpool

Since the start of the coronavirus, the midst of march, we agreed for a voluntary lockdown and enforced self-isolation, because the government did nothing to take care of the people. The government ignored the gravity of the situacion and the numbers they gave about the infected and died people was a insignifiant amount, in relationship wtith the amount the indepent medical organisations publicated.

The Government ignores advice from independent bodies onhow to avoid infections, but the situation was getting more severe in june and july, and people take their own measures. Very few corona tests are carried out; there is no clarity about what happened to a shipment of 26,000 fast-test kits donated by the Banco Centroamericano de Integracion Economica (BCIE).The Ministry of Health explains the increase in number of deaths simply as an outbreak of pheumonia or a flu which are not treated properly. The President himself occasionally makes ‘reassuring’ statements, such as that pandemics have been in the world since time immemorial, implying that nothing unusual is happening.

Very few Nicaraguans take comfort from official statistics or official reassurances. Many Nicaraguans have relatives living abroad, especially in Spain, the USA and in Italy, and they tell a different story.

What did/didnot we:

- We have not been able to go out into society, as much as we would have wanted to, during the last months, as creating goodwill through our outreach work is such a vital part of our ‘mission’.And we didnot go to the local televison channel, once a week, to talk about our work.

-We didnot invited visitors to know the community house and our work, and of course had less donations in money or products.

- Also we didnot pass along the little group of montly godfathers to receive their support.

-We closed the work shops in june, when the coronavirus started to become really heavy in Nicaragua

In the past months there has been relative peace and quiet on the corona front in Nicaragua. There are few new cases of corona infections. The number of deaths up till now is,according to medical staff,around 7,500; the Government says there are about 150 deaths.

For us this means that in October, after a six months’postponement:

-We were able to restart our weekly exercises in the swimming pool of a restaurant with the core members of our community. We go there by private transport early in the morning when there are no other people are in the pool. Everyone enjoyed it, although some needed more time than others to get used to water again!

'During the swimming pool off-period we introduced dancing in the Community Home as an alternative. This has proved to be so popular that it is now a permanent feature in our weekly program. They swing particularlywell to the tunes of Shakira and Dimension Costeña.

-The workshop was opened again, only with members of the communityhouse and a participant who lives near by. A firts step, waiting we can go to the second step: opening for all our a participants.

So far we are keeping the virus atbay, but we remain very alert for the possibility of a second wave.

The country at large is not doing so well. Poverty is on the rise because of higher unemployment, more taxes and rising prices. The general mood in the country is ‘down’ because of a higher degree of oppression of political dissent, and censorship. To the extent that the US and the European Union approve more sanctions against Nicaragua for alleged human right violations.

And in one month two hurricans , ETA and IOTA passed over the same area of Nicaragua. Juigalpa was not touched but a lot of people were affected.

Life seems some as a night, dark. We believe in bringing little spark of light in this society, by our work. Especially in this time of Diciembre, Christmas. Together we can make a difference. Can we count on you in 2021?

workshop funcioning
workshop funcioning

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For you!
For you!

Six years ago we started to dream, to begin a service in Juigalpa, Nicaragua; to make a change in the life of people with an intelectual disability, 15 years and older. A forgotten group still here.  We formed a small group of people to meet and talk it over what we wanted: how, why, with whom...

Four years ago, in May 2016, we started with a pilot activityclub, to give activities to a small group of participants: elaborating piñatas, working in a little garden, drawing, making music and stimulting the talents of every body.

And in August the same year we started the community home. With three core members. Every year new members arrived and now we are full with 7 core members.

We have not fulfilled all our dreams yet. But we are doing a good work and are still in progress.

So, the 26th of August, we'll celebrate the 4th anniversary of our Foundation!

This year in, alas, COVID-19 forced isolation.

We want to share our anniversary card with you, expressing our gratitud that you are involved in our work. Because we in Juigalpa, and you with financial and moral support, together are making a difference for people with an intelectual disability;  and for society en general.

So, be conected in your heart/ mind with us th 26th of this month!

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Organization Information

Fundacion Cristiana Comunitaria para Personas con Discapacidad Ruach

Location: Juigalpa, Chontales - Nicaragua
Website:
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Project Leader:
Astrid Delleman
Juigalpa, Nicaragua
$16,622 raised of $30,000 goal
 
217 donations
$13,378 to go
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