We are so thankful for you this holiday season! Your support helps to empower our communities to better their lives.
The community of Los Lopez, Masaya is a wonderful example of our most empowered communities who are thankful to you this season. Though Bridges stopped working actively in the community in 2013, Bridges continues to counsel Los Lopez community leaders on the use of their community fund. The community is exceptionally organized, and the Los Lopez committee members are fully committed to implementing a community development plan to raise up their entire community, little by little.
Bridges to Community actively constructed projects from 2000 to 2013. During this time, Bridges built 79 houses, 2 classrooms, 1 library, and 1 school kitchen. In 2013, Bridges and the community through their community fund shared the cost of a health center on land donated by a community member. Likewise, community leaders worked hand-in-hand with Bridges to make decisions about community needs and received extensive training on managing the community fund and developing a community development plan for after Bridges left the community.
Since then, Los Lopez community leaders have continued to address the needs of the community. The community has loaned $79,689 in microloans to families to address additional house needs, health needs, and start their own small businesses. New or expanded businesses from these micro-loans include breeding chickens and pigs, making hammocks, starting moto taxi businesses, and corner-store businesses.
Approximately 160 patients are seen monthly at the jointly-funded health center by a government-appointed doctor and nurse. The clinic also includes an office that is used for community meetings, to collect the monthly payments from the community fund from families, and to record all vital community documents. The community also used $4,635 of their community fund to do a feasibility study for a potential well project due to a need for increased water supply.
Most recently, the community identified a need at the school in Los Lopez. Growing enrollment and overcrowding in classrooms in conjunction with the addition of a new Saturday high school program prompted the community to build another classroom with their community funds. This new project directly benefits 269 students, 6 elementary teachers, and 5 high school teachers and promotes education in Los Lopez. Los Lopez commissioned Bridges to Community for the construction of their school expansion, paying for the whole project through their community fund.
Gioconda Gonzalez is a former Bridges scholarship student. Unable to study at university without support due to her economic situation, she has always been so thankful to Bridges not only for helping her to become a lawyer and public notary, but also for helping to change her community. She says, “Here in the community of Los Lopez, Bridges has made so many significant changes. Before Bridges entered the community, many of the families lived in houses cobbled together with black plastic or even cardboard in some cases. Now, the families in this community live in concrete houses with concrete floors. It has completely changed the image of each family and the community as a whole.
The improvements to the school that Bridges has made have also significantly helped. The school was much smaller and in bad condition. In the expanded school, children are not on top of each other in class and are happier and more motivated to go to school. Of course, each family also benefits from the health post. Bridges’ work in the community has changed so many families.
Personally for me as a former scholarship student, my life was completely changed thanks to the scholarship program. I owe my professional career to Bridges. I hope Bridges continues to plant hope and harvest smiles in our communities.”
Now as a lawyer, Gioconda works with Bridges to help us continue to better the lives of families in our communities by legalizing their land, so that they can have that security to fall back on and be considered to receive a Bridges home. She says, “I am now part of BTC. I collaborate in the legal area working for our communities. It’s such a beautiful experience to be able to help the families of my community, and I am grateful for the blessing and opportunity to do so.”
Please consider giving a generous gift to our Year End Appeal to help us spread more joy and empowerment in our communities this holiday season. We have reached nearly 60% of our target goal to change more lives in 2019!