We only went and won 3 more awards!
We’ve definitely got a spring in our step this April!
We’ve finished up our first term of the EEP job skills training course with the first quarterly family meeting of the year, which was hugely successful. Throughout the year we visit the students’ families in La Chureca and hold meetings in our training centre to create a solid support network for the women in our programme. It is vital that we get the feedback and the family’s opinion on the programme, as each woman needs the community support to be able to complete the course and then go onto a full time job. It is not an easy process for families to adapt too, and that is why we regularly touch base with the husbands, brothers, mothers and children of the EEP students. We were delighted to see so many family members support the students and to hear from them first hand that the last few months have been a positive experience for them.
As we get ready for a few days break, we wanted to share with you what else we have packed into the last few months here in Nicaragua:
- #LoQueNosFaltaEs: We ran a month-long campaign, launched on International Women’s Day, to put a spotlight on the reality of gender equality here in Nicaragua and what is still missing in order to celebrate the date
- APEN Appreciation: Our innovative trading arm Chureca Chic won 3 awards for our social impact and environmental focus
- Indio Inspiration: We visited the indigenous community, the Indio Maiz, as part of a new mentoring programme connecting La Chureca with other women’s groups in Nicaragua
- The Little Yellow Secret Garden: The Little Yellow Door partnership we mentioned in January is in full swing and Lalie, from the LYD team, came out to Nicaragua and began creating the events and fundraising space in our EEP and CHURECA CHIC centre.
Time to Celebrate with CHURECA CHIC
We were both delighted and humbled in March when our social enterprise trading arm, Chureca Chic, was awarded 3 prizes at the annual APEN Nicaragua 2016 business awards in the micro-business category.
- Most Socially Responsible; this one is our favourite because it is in recognition of the impact of our EEP programme in La Chureca in 2016
- Most Environmentally Friendly; for CHURECA CHIC’s innovative product line based on recycled materials
- Best Exporter; Director and Founder Andrea Paltzer was named Female Exporter of the Year 2016 as a micro-business for connecting the La Chureca community with markets in Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, the USA and Europe.
We also want to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to those reading this; your support is making our goal of a sustainable model for development become a successful reality.
Campaigning for Gender Equality
We decided that we didn’t want to just ‘celebrate’ women on 8th March. Whilst acknowledging the progress of women’s rights, we still wanted to open up the conversation on what is really needed to achieve gender equality. So we launched a campaign in Chureca Chic’s Café & Boutique called#LoQueNosFaltaEs (in English that’s “What We Are Missing Is…”). We created some rather cool coffee mugs that when filled with your favourite hot drink, revealed a message that pointed out continued existing inequalities and challenged the customer to a debate. Our staff and EEP participants got involved and we created a series of videos and a website to discuss the campaign. It was a real success, discussed by thousands of Nicaraguans and covered in the national news. We are happy to say we firmly put the topic out there and will continue to build on this with further campaigns. Check out the videos on our facebook page
Mentoring Project in the Natural Reserve, Indio Maíz
In February, we headed down to the south-east of Nicaragua to visit the indigenous community of San Juan de Nicaragua as part of a new knowledge exchange programme. With EEP and CHURECA CHIC we want our hybrid model to serve as an example for other communities to realise their potential. This new project aims to share our expertise, gathered over the years on social enterprise and creating products working with alternative materials, to mentor artisan groups in Nicaragua on product innovation and sales strategies. We ran a 4 day training course covering all business acumen aspects. The women of Rio Indio face similar obstacles to the community of La Chureca; a lack of employment and education opportunities, marginalisation and discrimination. They are creating products to create employment and protect their habitat. We focused on developing creativity and the community organisation so they can reach more markets. Photos from the trip can be seen here: Follow CHURECA CHIC on Facebook for more stories on this new project.
Cafe Boutique Expansion
The Little Yellow Door London partnership renovation is in full swing to expand our Café Boutique and we’re looking forward to the grand opening in May. Lalie from London worked tirelessly together with Fabio, a local volunteer from Masaya, to create an alternative entertainment space in our centre. Always seeking to innovate, the space will provide something just a little bit different for our customers to enjoy – think tipsy tea parties, tropical cocktail evenings and jewellery making workshops. These quintessentially British style events will definitely shake up the Managuan entertainment scene, but even better it forms part of the job skill training at EEP and Chureca Chic so that students and staff can be trained in events service skills, and, the events are designed so that more funds can be raised to support our scholarship programme.
Thank you for taking the time to read this news.
It’s because of you that we are here. Whether you have been supporting us for years or whether you are new to it all, what YOU do makes OUR work possible. We are just a small charity with huge dreams. We hope you appreciate us as much as we appreciate your support.
Here’s to an amazing Spring!