Monday, July 30, 2012

OrphaNetwork featured in Forbes Magazine

Hope In Hell On Earth: Micro-Finance In Nicaragua

This is not a sermon or a sales pitch, but a story about a place as inspiring as it is disturbing, where greed has raped a people of their material resources and dignity but where brilliantly applied generosity has created hope and enterprise of which Fortune 500 companies would be envious.
For months I had prepared myself for this moment, stepping off of the run down school bus in the middle of La Chureca, the dump of Nicaragua’s capital city, Managua.  Listed among the Seven Horrendous Wonders of the World, Chureca is not just a collection of refuse, but also a refuge for over 300 families.[i]  Men, women and children compete with mangy dogs for sustenance and sex traffickers for their minds, bodies and souls.
I knew it was coming from the moment I accepted the invitation to join a contingent of teachers, health and finance professionals orchestrated by GraceCity, a young church in downtown Baltimore enamored with serving the poorest-of-the-poor in its home town and, interestingly, the Managua city dump.  But nothing could prepare me for the sights: homes manufactured of rubbish; smoke lifting from piles of debris; a multi-colored landscape of mountainous trash dotted with laborers scrounging for something of worth under a 98 degree sun; a makeshift school[ii] lined with barbed wire; and scores of children, many without shoes or a single article of clean clothing but with stunning smiles lighting up their dirty faces.  After all, they were thrilled to see us—we were there with the ORPHANetwork, a Virginia-based NGO devoted to serving malnourished and displaced children in Nicaragua.  We were at one of their many feeding centers in the country, designed to provide at least one nutritious meal per day to over 10,000 starving children.

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