Help me raise money for shoes and other basic necessities for the thousands of children in Nicaragua who are living in poverty!
For the past 2 years, I've been lucky enough to get to go to Nicaragua with the Nicaraguan Orphan Fund, an organization at UVA whose purpose is to serve orphans and children in impoverished communities. We stayed at Casa Bernabe, an orphanage in Managua run by the Verbo Church, and got to do things like play with orphans, work in feeding centers at Nueva Vida (a refugee camp for Hurricane Mitch survivors), paint an orphanage called Hogar de Fey, and read to pre-schoolers at La Chureca (the Managua dump).
As amazing as these trips have been, they have opened my eyes to the tragic realities of everyday life in Nicaragua. As the poorest country in Central America and the poorest Spanish-speaking country in the world, Nicaragua has over 2 million citizens living under the poverty line, with 79% of the population living on less than $2 a day. Poverty most heavily affects women and children, and 1 in every 3 children suffer from malnutrition.
However, statistics are easy to overlook until you see the effects of this kind of poverty first-hand, which is exactly what happened to me. As I mentioned before, during our trip we went to La Chureca, a community that literally lives in a trash dump. If that's hard for you to imagine, picture this: huge mounds of trash everywhere you look, vultures flying overhead, thick clouds of smoke, broken glass at every step...and a home for thousands of people. In the middle of this hellish scene are children running around without shoes, often without any clothes at all, with streaks of orange in their hair signaling extreme malnutrition. And yet these same children who are exhausted, abused, hungry, and neglected are quick to smile, laugh, and play with the gringos who come to visit them... it is both heart-breaking and hopeful.
This issue has become personal for me because these kids I'm talking about have names, faces, and stories; believe me when I say they are not just statistics.
Please help sponsor me as I go without shoes from April 18-23 to raise money and awareness for La Chureca and other communities like it. At the end of the week, on April 23, UVA's Nicaraguan Orphan Fund is hosting a Barefoot 5k Race and the proceeds will go toward feeding centers, school supplies, and of course, shoes.
Thank you for your support; it means a lot to me and to the kids!
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other." -Mother Teresa