Through our community center at El Faro, NEO serves about 5025 nutritious hot meals a week to over 750 children in 5 locations.
We believe that providing meals to hungry children represents community development at its most basic level.
In 2011 Miriam Baca became frustrated with seeing hordes of unsupervised children in the slums with nothing to do, no one to care for them and nowhere to go while their parents were away during the day. To meet this need we developed a daycare and preschool and launched a primary school in 2012. We have now been licensed by the Nicaraguan Ministry of Education as a recognized school. We have 250 children enrolled in Managua and another 50+ in Tipitapa.
Through love, food, education and care we are changing the lives of children every day.
Since 2009 we have tried and proven community-based micro-lending. We extended over 500 loans for every imaginable type of entrepreneurial endeavor, nurtured relationships with the borrowers and watched the changes in their lives. Many good things happened!
- The lending program benefitted El Faro by broadening and deepening our relational network and creating growth.
- It dignified the poor, allowing them to improve their own lives in the context of relational support.
- It created community transformation at the most grassroots level.
- And, much to our astonishment, it paid back! Because each borrower pays a small fee for their loan, with each lending cycle we have more resources available. Even during our start-up period it has done untold good AND created a financial return.
Recently we gathered a group of 26 micro-loan recipients at El Faro, 25 women and 1 man. They went around the circle and told their stories. Each one reminded us that these loans actually change lives! In her own way each entrepreneur said, Thank you for giving me hope and opportunity! Thank you for trusting me!
Mud, Fire, Trash, & Smoke
When Ramon & Miriam Baca decided to leave a secure and comfortable job at a large church in Managua to start a new outreach in the dump, some people thought they were crazy. “La Chureca was hard to get to in those days.” says Miriam, “Mud, trash and smoke in the winter; and fire trash & smoke in the summer. Lots of times we had to ride on the backs of dump trucks just to get into the dump at all. Sometimes the trash would burn out of control and you could hardly get through the fire and smoke.”
For six months they pursued their initial strategy in La Chureca: walking around, meeting people, listening to them and praying for them, learning peoples’ names and needs, caring and helping. Their work was centered in the dump, but gradually Ramon & Miriam came to the conclusion that they should move out of there. “There are four generations living in La Chureca,” Ramon says, “and some have never left it.”
Through trial and error they found the house where they are now, within easy walking distance of La Chureca and other nearby slums. Two years later they started another branch near a second landfill in the town of Tipitapa, about 30 miles away.
Each site now houses a church, an elementary school and preschool, a kitchen and feeding center, a micro-lending program and community center. Between the two locations, they serve about 2000 people a week.