The Nicaraguan crisis and our response

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This is a hard post to share. On August 1st, we suspended operations in our Chureca Chic workshop and the social programme it helps fund: Earth Education Project. 

Casa Chureca Chic, our boutique & cafe, is still open.

The current situation in Nicaragua

In April, a devastating sociopolitical crisis unfolded in Nicaragua. Over the last 4 months more than 250,000 Nicaraguans have lost their jobs, over 400 people have been killed, there are reports of over 1,000 people missing, roadblocks sprung up across the country and the economy plummeted. Commerce has been next to nothing in Managua and the rest of the country.

How the crisis has affected us

The safety of our students and staff was affected and we had to close on several occasions due to the violence on the streets. Sales at Chureca Chic dropped by 60% from one day to the next, and partners of Earth Education Project (EEP), those that offer jobs to the EEP graduates, also began to close. Chureca Chic as a business usually covers the rent, electricity and admin costs of EEP as well as paying our artisans. We were faced with a serious drop in income for both entities and a gloomy job market for the students in the scholarship programme. For us, closing is not an option, as we exist to support the most vulnerable, who in these situations are the most affected.

A pause to reinvent ourselves and continue

Those that have followed us through this time will have seen that we rewrote the script, daily. We partnered up with several entrepreneurs and other community organizations. We searched for alternatives to keep the projects alive and we did not cut any jobs or scholarships. The decision to therefore suspend was not taken lightly.

With the current sociopolitical context we have redesigned our job skill training programme together with current and new employment partners to ensure jobs for the class for 2018. We are adding an entrepreneurship component together with a local NGO partner and, a job skill refresher programme for EEP graduates who have lost their jobs due to their places of work closing. We have the structure in place to impart these ‘crisis courses’ over 12 weeks before the end of the year.

Even though we continue to find solutions, there is a deficit in our funds for the scholarship programme. We have suspended EEP staff contracts for the moment as well. While we have halted Chureca Chic production and the artisan contracts, we are still selling via our website and Casa Chureca Chic, and, we continue with plans to enter into the Central America market.

The suspension is to help us get back on an even footing. In Casa Chureca Chic, where we house the EEP centre and the Chureca Chic boutique & café, we are still open and hosting talks and events on creativity and innovation that support the community in response to the crisis. In turn, these events help to also raise funds for our women.

 

More than ever, we need support from our donor community. We need your help to continue empowering and educating women out of high-risk violent backgrounds.

 

Together, we’ve positively affected – and potentially saved – the lives of more than 230 women. But there are still hundreds more who need us! If you would like to donate to the project, please go to our DONATION PAGE.

Thank you to those who have supported us through thick and thin.  

Progress is impossible without change; and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw