Mission: To support human and economic development in the rural communities of León, Nicaragua and engage US students in global citizenship.
Results: Since 2003, ViviendasLeón has been working in the rural community of Goyena, located in the indigenous region of León known as Sutiaba. This region extends west from the city to the Pacific Ocean. There are more than 250 families living in Goyena, and many of these are households occupied solely by mothers and their children.
During this period, ViviendasLeón has constructed, with the participation of the community and students traveling to Nicaragua through our Global Education Travel program, a preschool serving 30 children and a primary school offering grades K-6 in the mornings, and grades 7-8 in the afternoons. In addition, we have constructed a house, owned by the community, for one of the teachers and her family.
As a result of our work and the work of other NGO’s, there has been a 400% increase in school attendance, with between 75 and 80 percent of the children of Goyena now attending school through the sixth grade. In the last two years, ViviendasLeón has provided financial assistance to secondary school students to continue through the 11th grade. Over time more students will continue their education through the secondary level and some will even choose to pursue their studies at the university.
We have also constructed a community center, with support from the USF School of Architecture, that provides space for adult education classes, a public library, a kitchen, an auditorium, a health clinic and offices.
ViviendasLeón is also working with the Madre Tierra arts center, latrine construction for the schools and our first micro-enterprise, a women’s sewing cooperative, with a grant from IWC and major institutional support from the USF School of Business.
Our current projects include the COABE Little Honey Bee Cooperative, which employs members of the community to care for honey bees and sell honey products, as well as a Women's Sewing Cooperative and a Youth Development Soccer Camp. We are also hoping to kick off the Moringa Tea Cooperative business using existing trees in the community to package and sell a nutritious tea that includes vitamins B, C and K, beta-carotene, manganese and protein.
Target demographics: Rural communities throughout Nicaragua
Worked as a volunteer for Viviendas. Great people, great cause. It was refreshing to see such a small organization impact such a large demographic. Their soccer camps and other youth education programs are working to enhance the existing rural communities of Nicaragua. VL provides very direct, logical community development programs for the people of Leon and Goyena which not only benefit those individuals, but also the many volunteers working in the states and abroad. Overall, its been a great experience working for a smart company like ViviendasLeon.