Sustainable Economic Development
Nicaraguans work hard and are creative. When they cannot find a job, they work at stoplights selling water and washing windshields, or they go door-to-door in their neighborhoods selling vegetables for only pennies in profit. Within the economically active population, only 21% are formally employed, which means that Nicaraguans need jobs.
And they need to have control over their work. In Nicaragua, 96,000 people work in sweatshops where they work long hours for little pay. The foreign owners make huge profits off of their workers’ labor, and those profits leave the country.
For Nicaragua to become a healthy nation for its people, it needs revenue that stays in Nicaragua. Sweatshops do not provide this. One example is the Cone Denim plant just down the road from us. Its construction further burdened Nicaragua with $111 million of debt for the factory’s construction. While originally Intended as a huge source of employment for people in Ciudad Sandino, instead the plant was open for eight months only, then closed. It has remained closed for four years.
Currently we support the following businesses with financing and expertise: a cotton gin processing organic cotton grown by farmers in our sustainable agriculture project; a carpentry workshop; a concrete construction materials plant; and a security cooperative.
Nicaraguans are hard workers but they do not have access to capital. To help bridge that gap, we have a fund that makes low interest loans to co-ops and small businesses, called the Vida Fund.
If you want to help, please contact us.